Should the USAF reopen project Blue Book?

Rapport n° 0450-74


Un article de recherche soumis à la Faculté Graduate de l'Université de Auburn In Partial fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Public Administration

Auburn (Alabama)

17 mai 1974



Par William E. Brummett, 310-40-5845FR, Major, USAF et Ernest R. Zuick, Jr., 549-46-3888FR, Captain, AF, CA ANG

Une étude de recherche soumise à la faculté

Mai 1974

Université de l'Air
Base aérienne de Maxwell (Alabama)



This study evaluates factors related to the USAF investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects in an attempt to determine whether or not additional UFO investigation is warranted. The approach to analysis taken by this study was twofold: one writer evaluated evidence justifying the closure of Project Blue Book while the other writer evaluated evidence supporting its reopening. Based on the evidence uncovered, the study concludes that there is a definite need for a new UFO investigation. The study recommends that such an investigation should be a scientific undertaking free from bias, political pressure, and USAF or DoD jurisdiction.

Tables des matières

  1. Introduction   
  2. Histoire de l'enquête de l'USAF sur les ovnis
    • Projet Sign
    • Projet Grudge
    • Projet Blue Book
  3. Arguments soutenant la terminaison du projet Blue Book
    • Natural Acts
    • Phénomène naturel
    • Comportement humain
    • Etudes et recommandations pour soutenir la terminaison du projet Blue Book
  4. Arguments pour la réouverture du projet Blue Nook
    • Prorité du projet et sélection des directeurs du projet
    • Lack of Dedication des directeurs du projet
    • Personnel insuffisant
    • Approche non scientifique
    • Influence extérieure
    • Structure et méthodologie médiocres du projet Blue Book
    • Procédures médiocres de catalogage
    • L'observation de Barney et Betty Hill
    • Autres développement dans le cas de Barney et Betty Hill
    • Le comité Condon
    • Le cas de Pascagoula (Mississippi)
    • Le cas de Bahia Blanca (Argentine)
    • Le cas de Ubatuba (Brésil)
    • Nouveaux développements dans le cas de Barney et Betty Hill
  5. Conclusions et recommandations
    • Conclusions
    • La question de la pression politique
    • La question du système de classement du projet Blue Book
    • La question de la direction changeantge du projet Blue Book
    • La question des recommandations pour une nouvelle étude


Nous savons maintenant que dans les premières années du 20ème siècle ce monde a été observé de près par des intelligences supérieures à l'homme bien qu'aussi mortelles que lui-même s1[Orson Welles, (15:33), 1938]

Avec cette phrase, Orson Welles lança son émission aujourd'hui fameuse de l'"Invasion Martienne" le jour d'Halloween, le 30 octobre 1938. Bien que Welles' panic broadcast was designed as an elaborate hoax, Welles proved something which remains as true today as it was thirty-five years ago: few subjects are more intriguingly fascinating or as controversial as the possibility of an earthly surveillance by intelligent extraterrestrial beings.

Many people mistakenly assume the Welles ' broadcast was the basis for the reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) which have occurred with increasing frequency in the United States since 1947, but there are written records of UFO sightings as early as the reign of King Thutmose III, circa 1504-1450 B.C., in Ancient Egypt.(32:l4) If the Welles broadcast served any beneficial purpose, it was perhaps that it developed a renewed awareness of the possible existence of extraterrestrial civilizations and caused people to look once again to the heavens.

There were several UFO sightings during World War II by both American and Japanese pilots, but both assumed the UFOs to be a secret weapon of the enemy. During this period, American pilots reported luminous discs, quickly dubbed "foo fighters", which sometimes followed alongside their aircraft,(4:32) The first large scale UFO sightings to occur in the United States since 1897 began in 1947. Since 1947, the incidents of sightings have increased in momentum which has remained undiminished to this day.

By September 1947, the United States Air Force (USAF) had become sufficiently interested in the growing number of UFO reports by reputable, respected citizens to establish "Project Sign", later named "Project Grudge", and finally renamed "Project Blue Book", the Air Force program for investigation of UFOs. Project Blue Book remained in effect for over twenty-two years and investigated reports of 12,618 sightings. Unexplained sightings ranged between the official Project Blue Book report of 6 per cent to UFOlogist estimates of 54 per cent. Despite the wide variance in unexplained sightings, Secretary of the Air Force, Dr. Robert Seamans, announced the termination of Project Blue Book on December 17, 1969. The decision to discontinue UFO investigations was based on an evaluation of a report prepared by the University of Colorado entitled, "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects," more commonly referred to as the "Condon Report"; a review of the Condon Report by the National Academy of Sciences; past UFO studies; and two decades of Air Force experience investigating UFO reports. (6:141)

Since 1969, and the demise of Project Blue Book, man has penetrated the once impenetrable barrier of space and has safely set foot on the lunar surface not once, but several times. Space travel to other planets and to distant stars, once thought to be "the impossible dream" by many, is now believed to be a definite probability by nearly all. Since 1969, there have also been an increased number of UFO sightings around the world. The most recent rash of sightings occurred in the Southeastern United States, centering around the three state area encompassing Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. A growing number of people, including many former UFO skeptics, feel the tremendous accomplishments of our astronauts, the surge and nature of recent UFO reports, and new developments concerning former UFO sightings, more than justify the reopening of Project Blue Book.


The purpose of this study is to determine whether or not Project Blue Book should be reopened. To better guarantee an unbiased study, one of the writers will present arguments supporting the closure of Project Blue Book. These arguments will embrace supportive evidence such as the "Condon Report", the review of the "Condon Report" conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, and the findings of Project Blue Book. The other writer will present arguments for reopening Project Blue Book. These arguments will contain supportive evidence such as a critical analysis of Project Blue Book and the Condon Report, new developments regarding two former UFO sightings, and two important new sightings which occurred in 1973.

The writers will not attempt to prove or disprove extraterrestrial visitors are visiting the earth, but will merely gather and analyze information which will provide an argument to the Air Force that Project Blue Book should or should not be reopened.


The writers were extremely fortunate insofar as the original Project Blue Book documents, which are no longer classified, are now located in the archives of the Air University Library, Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama. Limitations, however, did exist. First, research was necessarily confined to sources within the Air University Library, the Montgomery Alabama Public Library, and the few books the writers were able to purchase. Second, UFOs are not a particularly favorite topic of a majority of the academia, therefore, few scientific journals mention the topic, except in a derogatory manner. Third, literary sources, other than those already mentioned, were necessarily confined to the news media and popular periodicals. Fourth, personal professional correspondence was confined to two scientists; Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Director, Department of Astronomy, Northwestern University and Mr. Stanton J. Friedman, Nuclear Physicist. Fifth, due to the fact that both of the writers are currently on active duty with the Air Force and any personal contact with UFO eyewitnesses might be construed as an official USAF investigation, personal interviews were not feasible.


At the beginning of this study, neither of the writers possessed any bias toward or against the possible existence of UFOs, but since opposing views must be taken to better guarantee an unbiased conclusion, there were necessarily two hypotheses. For the purpose of this study, one of the writers will approach all research from the standpoint that Project Blue Book was a well organized USAF program which conducted a thorough investigation of all reported UFO sightings as substantiated by the scientifically conducted Condon Report. This writer will maintain the attitude that all UFOs can be explained as natural phenomena and contend that Project Blue Book should remain closed. This hypothesis will provide the negative portion of the joint study.

Conversely, the other writer, for the purpose of this study, will approach all research as though he believes both Project Blue Book and the Condon Report were biased, unscientific investigations unworthy of the auspices of the United States Air Force. This writer will contend this bias together with new developments regarding two former UFO sightings and two specific 1973 sightings are more than sufficient reasons for reopening Project Blue Book. This hypothesis will provide the affirmative portion of the joint study.

Vue d'ensemble

The writers will begin this study with a brief discussion of the history of Air Force UFO investigations.

Following this summary, one of the writers will present arguments, based on extensive research, to justify the closure of Project Blue Book, while the other writer will conversely discuss arguments he has uncovered which justify the reopening of Project Blue Book. The writers will then once again join forces and attempt to objectively analyze their findings to arrive at a conclusion whether or not Project Blue Book should be reopened. If warranted, the writers will conclude this study by presenting their recommendations regarding future UFO studies.

For the purpose of this study, the terms "UFO" and "flying saucers", will be used synonymously.

Histoire de l'enquête de l'USAF sur les ovnis

Investigation of UFOs by the U. S. Government began on September 23, 1947, when, following a rash or UFO sightings, Lt. Gen. Nathan F. Twining, Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army, recommended to Brig. Gen. George Schulgen, Commanding General of the Army Air Force, that Headquarters Army Air Forces issue a directive assigning a priority, security classification and code name for a detailed study of UFOs. In this letter, Lt. Gen. Twining also noted that in his opinion, the phenomenon was real and not visionary or fictitious. Since Air Material Command (AMC) had originally been collecting UFO data, Lt. Gen. Twining recommended that AMC continue the investigation within its present resources until the official study could be organized.(3:1379)

Projet Sign

On December 30, 1947, a letter from the Chief of Staff directed Air Material Command to set up a project to collect, collate, evaluate and distribute information concerning UFOs. The Air Technical Intelligence Division of AMC issued HQ AMC Technical Instruction No. 2185 , February 11, 1948, inaugurating a classified project under the code name of "Sign."(25:1) Project Sign continued its investigations of UFOs until February 11, 1949, when its project name was officially changed to "Project Grudge."(2:850) A report covering the 273 incidents investigated by Project Sign concluded that no definite and conclusive evidence existed.(25:1) This final report recommended: (1) future activities of this project should be carried on at a minimum level necessary to record, summarize and evaluate the data received on future reports and to complete the specialized investigation in progress, (2) reporting agencies should get more factual evidence on sightings, such as photographs, physical evidence, radar sightings, and data on size and shape.(2:850)

Projet Grudge

After December 16, 1948, the USAF study of UFOs continued as "Project Grudge." Following this change, UFO investigations continued much as they previously had during Project Sign. In August 1949 a report containing analysis of 244 cases was released which concluded that Unidentified Flying Objects posed no direct threat to the national security of the United States and that reports resulted from: (1) misinterpretation of conventional objects, (2) mass hysteria or "War Nerves", (3) hoaxes and/or (4) psychopathological persons.(23:10) The Project Grudge report recommended that: (1) investigation be reduced in scope. (2) current collection data relating to UFOs be revised to provide for submission of only those reports clearly indicating realistic technical applications, and (3) conclusions with sufficient supporting data be declassified and made public. (23:6) Based on this final report of Project Grudge, a decision was made to discontinue the project. However, investigation of UFOs was continued as part of normal intelligence activities.(2:857)

Projet Blue Book

Following a new rash of sightings, Project Grudge was reactivated as a new and expanded investigation on October 27, 1951, under the direction of Captain E. J. Ruppelt. In March 1952 the new Project Grudge was redesignated "Project Blue Book." With this change of project designation, there also followed increased support and authority for UFO studies at the Air Technical Intelligence Center (ATIC) located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Project Blue Book was initially governed by policies set forth in Air Force Letter 200-5 issued April 29, 1952. Air Force Letter 200-5 provided for a more elaborate and comprehensive reporting system whereby telegraphic reports concerning UFOs would be sent directly to both the Project Blue Book staff and to the Pentagon. These procedures were later replaced by a less complicated reporting system stated in Air Force Regulation 200-2 dated August 26, 1953. AFR 200-2 was superseded by Air Force Regulation 80-17 dated September 19, 1966. The primary relevant change noted in this regulation was in the area of information release. It provided for news releases to come from the Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Information (SAFOI). All Air Force members not officially connected with UFO investigation were to refrain from action or comments on UFO reports which might mislead public opinion. Another regulation covering UFO procedures was Joint Army Navy Air Publication 146 (JANAP-146) which reminded Air Force personnel of the severe penalties for making public statements concerning UFOs without official approval. (2:857)

The USAF maintained that their interest in UFOs was related directly to the air defense of The United States and the security of its airspace. The objectives of Project Blue Book were to determine if UFOs posed a direct threat to the security of the United States and to determine if UFOs provided any unique scientific information or advanced technology that would contribute to United States technical research. In accomplishing these objectives, the USAF strived to identify and explain all UFO sightings. (27:1)

During Project Blue Book's existence, the staff published 12 regular summary reports and one special report, Report Number 14. The conclusions of these reports are summed up in a Project Blue Book Report dated 1968 which states:

A ce jour, les conclusions firm du Projet Blue Book sont :

  1. no unidentified flying object reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security;
  2. there has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as UNIDENTIFIED represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge; and
  3. there has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as UNIDENTIFIED are extraterrestrial vehicles.

The Air Force will continue to investigate all sightings of unusual aerial phenomena over the US which are reported to it. The services of qualified scientists and technicians will continue to be used to investigate and analyze these reports, and periodic reports and news releases will be made on the subject as requested.

The Air Force takes no stand on whether or not extraterrestrial life could or does exist. Many scientists believe that it is entirely possible that the universe contains life on planets other than our own. No evidence yet exists that there is other life. The Air Force continues to extend an open invitation to anyone who feels that he possesses any evidence of extraterrestrial vehicles operating within the earth's space envelope to submit his evidence for analysis. Initial contact for this purpose is through the following address:

WASHINGTON, DC 20330 (27:4)

Based upon the recommendations of the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board Ad Hoc Committee which met on February 3, 1966, a project for broad in-depth study of Unidentified Flying Objects was coordinated with the University of Colorado (Colorado Study). This study commenced on November 1, 1966, with its final report being submitted on October 31, 1968. (8:246) Conclusions of this report will be discussed in the following chapter. Based upon findings of this study, on December 17, 1969, the United States Air Force announced the termination of Project Blue Book and the retirement of its records to the USAF Archives, Maxwell AFB, Alabama; thus concluding all official government investigations of UFOs.

Arguments soutenant la terminaison du projet Blue Book

While many disagree with the U. S. Air Force decision to terminate Project Blue Book, there exists much evidence to support the USAF action. Several UFO sightings still remain puzzling and unsolved. However; many facets of human life still remain unknown. Even though man has used electricity for many years, scientists still are unable to agree exactly what it is or upon whether electricity flows from the positive pole to the negative pole or vice versa. He is not even able to understand the reason for his difference in behavior. While man can communicate with his fellow man, he is still unable to understand why he behaves toward his environment as he does. These are a few of the mysteries that mankind accepts as normal and lives with the results. The decision of the USAF to terminate UFO investigation can be supported by looking at some of the natural acts that might appear as UFOs and some natural phenomena that might appear as UFOs. This decision can also be supported by looking at man himself through some of his behavioral aspects. It must also be noted that the USAF decision to terminate UFO investigation was based on several scientific studies and committee recommendations.

Natural Acts

To even the trained observer, many natural acts can appear weird and thus be later construed to be a UFO. Man's natural senses are limited. They serve his needs under normal circumstances, however, under many circumstances they are inadequate. Our senses can easily be confused. Take, for example, our sense of balance which is a joint function of sight and hearing. Man's balance is superb under normal conditions of gravity and good visibility. However, when man is placed in an aircraft where "G" loads and visibility vary, he requires gyro stabilized instruments to give him his orientation of up or down and whether he is turning or diving. Man's sense of vision during night conditions is extremely limited and at times inaccurate. Under conditions of darkness and with only one point light source in view, that light point will appear to move. This physical limitation can be simulated in a dark room with one small point of light available. This writer, while piloting an F-102A Interceptor on a night training mission, experienced a situation similar to the vision limitation mentioned. Shortly after take off, the writer saw what appeared to be the tail light of the lead aircraft he was to join with. As the writer's aircraft appeared to close on the light source, power was reduced to slow overtake. Shortly after this act, the writer noted the lead aircraft about 20 degrees to his right. The writer had been attempting to join with a star or planet in the sky. This limitation coupled with man's basic limited ability to see under conditions of darkness has contributed to many UFO reports.

The afterburning of a jet aircraft when viewed at night could easily explain many UFO sightings. On most nights only the afterburner of the jet will be visible and when viewed from the side would appear as a short bluish flame. As the aircraft is maneuvered, the flame can elongate, shorten or assume different shapes as the afterburner flame is viewed at different angles from the tail of the aircraft. When the afterburner is viewed looking directly from the tail toward the nose of the aircraft, the flame will appear as a whitish orange ball. If the aircraft is climbing or diving steeply, the afterburner would tend to appear as a white ball with erratic maneuvers. The sphere would appear to be stationary when the aircraft is level and to climb or dive rapidly as the aircraft was maneuvered up or down. The color of the afterburner will change colors when the afterburner is viewed at different angles. The afterburner flame will disappear when afterburner operation is terminated or when the aircraft is turned to a head-on view. Thus, the jet afterburner can and will, when viewed at night, appear as an object similar to that of many night UFO sightings; an object with an erratic pattern, one that changes colors and shapes in a random fashion and vanishes without a trace.

Night aerial refueling is another source of maneuvering lights that can appear as UFOs. The number of aircraft in an aerial refueling operation can vary from one aircraft receiving fuel from one tanker to several aircraft and several tankers. The tanker when viewed from the bottom normally has two rows of lights along the bottom of the fuselage. Many receiver aircrafts have a refueling light which shines forward similar to the headlights of a car. It is readily apparent that either tow aircraft or several aircraft involved in aerial refueling will be seen as an extremely weird group of aerial lights to an unaware ground observer. This view coupled with the "Race Track" pattern used by the aircraft give an erratic pattern of lights that travel in one direction for several minutes then turn and fly a return course. Many UFO sightings have noted lights that have behaved similar to those of the aerial refueling operation.

Air Force aircraft use two very common devices that can give extremely uncommon appearing lights. These are the night flare and the night photo flash. Flares are normally dropped from aircraft or shot into the air by a ground mortar. These flares are extremely bright and descend slowly by the use of a small parachute. They take several minutes to burn out and normally burn out prior to reaching the ground. Night aerial photography is normally accomplished by high intensity flash strobes or flash cartridges. These flashes are very high intensity and normally several are used at a time. Again, the flare and flash strobe are normal light sources that can and have caused concern to ground observers.

Bright planets, stars and the moon have been falsely reported as UFOs. When near the horizon, stars and planets may flash bright colors, mainly red and green. This is due to atmospheric conditions. They may appear to jump sideways or up and down, and is due to involuntary eye motions. Venus, in particular, is often reported because of its extraordinarily brilliant white light. It is bright enough to shine through thin cloud layers which often appear as a fuzzy ball and as the clouds drift it appears to have erratic motion. Many people do not realize that planets and stars rise and set, thus giving them motion across a portion of the sky. Binoculars make apparent movements greater, therefore minor movement will be amplified.(34:2324)

The following undated abstract from Newsweek was found in the Project Blue Book files:

A strange looking long bright object settled close to the earth, hovered there a few minutes, then disappeared. Several Akron, Ohio residents spotted it. They fired off reports to the Air Force. Its Unidentified Flying Objects task force went into action and investigated.

Just what was that strange bright object which hovered close to the earth out in Akron one night last year? The answer, disclosed by the Air Force last week: The moon. The UFO Force, reported on one of the 483 investigations it conducted last year explained that the moon often seems to assume an elliptical shape when it nears the horizon.

Balloons and helicopters have flight characteristics similar to those reported by UFO sightings. Weather balloons account for a number of UFO sightings. These balloons are sent to altitudes of 40,000 feet and higher and are launched from virtually every air field in the United States. They are made of Polyethylene and rubber and increase in size as they gain altitude. They have

good radar reflective areas and are frequently lighted at night. Undermost daylight conditions and from a distance, the balloon will appear as a silver sphere. This writer can recall being scrambled from Richards-Gebaur AFB, Mo., in an F-102A to attempt an identification of a UFO. The writer and a fellow pilot in another aircraft identified the UFO as a weather balloon. Helicopters when viewed from a distance can appear as a UFO. Their motion is slow and at a distance appear to be black specks that moves up and down. At night, this motion coupled with the helicopters rotating beacon can give some spectacular effects.

Many strange effects are created by routine jet training flights. This writer can remember being a member of a 4 ship F-100 night flight where one member's high intensity landing light would not turn off after take off. The flight continued on an approximate two and one half hour flight round robin throughout the southeastern United States with the high intensity light on and pointing straight down. There is little doubt that this could have been mistaken for a UFO.

Frequently, unusually bright meteors will cause a flurry of UFO reports as they streak across the sky. Several satellites can be seen in the sky today. Satellites can be visible for several minutes and easily misidentified as UFOs.

Phénomène naturel

Many UFO sightings can be explained by natural phenomenon. Two major areas of phenomenon are worthy of note: (1) electrical phenomenon and gaseous phenomenon and, (2) weather phenomenon. Natural phenomenon as we know it today can explain many UFO sightings. However, there is little doubt that in the future many more phenomenons will be noted and at least accepted as known but unexplainable natural conditions.

After years of controversy over UFOs, evidence is growing that many UFOs may be very real and natural electronic phenomenon. Many sightings seem to occur near electronic power transmission lines or points.(5:75) UFO sightings around these heavy electrical fields give rise to the possibility that some phenomenon unknown today could cause the energy of this highly electrified area to give off visible glowing electrical energy. One form of ball lightning has been produced in an experiment conducted at Melpar Division of E-Systems, Inc., in Falls Church, Va. In one of their experiments, ammonia vapor was ignited with a high voltage spark. The result was a mass of flowing gas that quickly assumed the shape associated with UFOs. The laboratory-model, while much smaller than a UFO, proceeded to do many of the maneuvers associated with UFOs. It hovered in one spot for several minutes, moved quite erratically, sometimes moved at great speeds and then abruptly broke up or faded away. Occasionally the experiments produced several similar objects that looked alike and flew in formation. The scientists also discovered that their artificial UFO could be tracked by radar and produced a charged field that could affect radio performance.(5:75) Another electrical phenomenon well known to the aviator is the eerie and mysterious "Saint Elmo's Fire". "Saint Elmo's Fire" is a mysterious visual glowing static electricity that forms at times on the leading surfaces of an aircraft while flying at night. This electrical phenomenon will dance around on the wind screen, play on leading edges, and give the aircraft a ghost like glow. These are only a couple of the known electrical phenomenon. No doubt there are many we do not know about.

Weather phenomenon can produce many of the characteristics associated with UFOs. Temperature inversion reflections have produced radar returns. Speeds of these returns have been reported to range from zero to fantastic rates with the object moving in all directions. These radar returns have resulted in many fruitless intercept efforts. Ionized clouds can cause unidentified radar returns. Radio transmission difficulties are also associated with ionized clouds. Strong uplifting of clouds can cause "lenticular" clouds. The saucer shaped clouds appear over mountain ranges and from a distance could easily be viewed as a UFO. These are but a few of the known weather phenomenon. Little doubt exists as to the possibility that many more weather associated phenomenons manifest themselves today.

Comportement humain

While many UFO sightings can be explained by natural acts and natural phenomenon, possibly even more sightings can be explained by investigating man himself. Much that is written shows strong support for placing UFO sightings into two basic psychological patterns: (1) A pattern whereby the American public is influenced by the press or other mass media, and (2) a pattern whereby UFOs fill a certain psychological need either for the person reporting the UFO or persons that accept their presence.

There is no question that the press and other mass media have stimulated the public imagination concerning UFOs. The term "Flying Saucer" was invented by the press in 1947.(21:258) In the opinion of this writer many more books and news stories are written with the thought of "sensationalism" in mind rather than the facts. In many cases it appears that the facts are stretched a bit and the facts not supporting the stories are omitted. Walter Sullivan supports this idea in, "UFOs a Scientific Debate," by saying:

Reporters earn their bread and butter with good stories and don't get full credit if they "qualify to death" such a yarn. They are trained to check the source of an interesting report, then write it up "colorfully". But they don't do a full research job on it, and they hope that no one "shoots it down" before the readers can appreciate it.(21:258)

A synopsis of Headquarters Air Material Report , dated August 31, 1949, states;

A peak period in reports has occurred following widespread publicity given to several incidents. This was further illustrated in May of 1949 (a Period not covered by this analysis) when Project Grudge received 64 reports of sightings and 51 suggested solutions following a Saturday Evening Post article and an official USAF press release on "Flying Saucers". This amounted to approximately five times the number of reports received in preceding months. Almost all of the reports and suggested solutions made reference to either The Saturday Evening Post article or the USAF official press release.(23:2)

The Blue Book files are filled with data that indicates the affect of news media upon UFO sighting reports. A statement made by an unknown Blue Book staff member indicated that if publicity continued for several days, sighting reports go up throughout the country as well as in the original locality.(33:6)

There is little doubt in this writers mind that the recent rash of sightings which occurred in the southeastern portion of the United States can be attributed in part to the spectacular sighting in Pascagoula, Mississippi where two men claimed to have been taken aboard an alien spacecraft.

Mankind has become more aware of the heavens in recent years by the mass media surrounding him. Probably the first and most shocking impression concerning the heavens was made in 1938 when Orsen Welles made his famous earth invasion broadcast. Since that time the American public has become increasingly aware of the heavens and of the possibility of alien life from outer space capable of visiting earth. Many movies have been made which have as their theme "visitors" from outer space. Television has further increased awareness of the heavens with weekly space presentations. These movie and television presentations are in many cases romantically based and appeal to many. Most books available to the general public deal with supporting the existence of UFOs and in many cases are not based on scientific fact.

Even a strong advocate of UFOs must admit that the press and news media have made the public more aware of the heavens. Mass media has supported the possibility of UFOs and spacecraft. This increased possibility of extraterrestrial visitors has, in the opinion of this writer, definitely increased the chance that the average person seeing any strange happening in the sky would be more apt to report that happening as a UFO.

One persuasive theory about UFOs is that they correspond to a deep human need. Contemporary UFO sightings are an outgrowth of the troubled international situation and gradual erosion among Christians of belief in a God who will eventually intervene to save mankind and correct all wrongs. Boston psychiatrist Benjamin Simon believes that UFOs have a little something for everyone. The UFOs which represent an advanced civilization will obviously have new cures for the ill. For many, belief in the saucers provided an "oceanic" or "cosmic feeling of immersion" in the total universe. These conclusions are partly based on Simon's work with Barney and Betty Hill, a Portsmouth, N.H. , couple who claim to have been abducted by UFO personnel, examined and later released unharmed. Simon theorizes that Barney (a Negro) and Betty (a Caucasian), both filled with tensions concerning their mixed marriage, sighted a glowing in the sky. This served as a "day stimulus" for subsequent nightmares and wish-fulfillment fantasies. The childless Betty described an obviously Freudian encounter where a humanoid administered a pregnancy test to her. Barney, who considered the Irish to be hostile toward Negroes, remembered being treated with respect by an Irish looking humanoid. (4:32)

Dr. William Kauffman, Director of the Griffith Observatory at Los Angeles, recently explained his ideas concerning UFO related human behavior in an article stating that many of the people today wish to turn away from happenings in the world and perhaps have a desire that superintellects could come along and stop all of the bungling that is happening today.(20:21)

Many religious and philosophic groups have needs that are filled by the possibility of UFOs. Dr. Ernest R. Hilgard, a Stanford University psychologist, theorizes that as society becomes more affluent, man tends to want to become a more important member of the universe. Belief in things of other worlds fill this need.(36:435)

Dr. Donald L. Warren of the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan has another behavior theory of UFOs. He views UFOs as an opportunity for us to escape without threatening our own immediate social environment. he further feels that a person dissatisfied with his own socioeconomic status might be a likely person to attach importance to himself by believing in and sighting flying saucers.(36:436)

The desire to believe in the existence of UFOs has made millions of Americans susceptible to UFO hoaxes. Many of these hoaxes have been in the form of photographic manipulation such as double exposures taken of sauce pans, ceiling lights or other saucer shaped items. Possibly one of the most hilarious was a photograph of a weird little creature that had supposedly come from a UFO and died. The creature was later identified as a shaved monkey.

Etudes et recommandations soutenants la terminaison du Projet Blue Book

Project Blue Book was terminated on December 17, 1969, by Secretary of the Air Force, Robert C. Seamans, Jr. The decision to discontinue UFO investigations was based on a report prepared by the University of Colorado (Condon Report), a review of that report by the National Academy of Sciences, past UFO studies, and Air Force experience in investigating UFO reports.(21:297) Secretary Robert Seamans Jr., stated that the program "no longer can be justified either on the ground of national security or in the interest of science.(15:76) Many experts disagree with the conclusion of the 1500 page, $539,000 independent Condon Study that took over two years to complete. The Condon Study concluded that :

Nothing has come from the study of UFOs in the past 21 years that has added to scientific knowledge. Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced thereby.(1:2)

One of the major critics of the Condon Study was an amateur UFO organization, The National Investigators Committee for Aerial Phenomena (NICAP). As indicated by the Condon Report , NICAP in the past has spent much effort in attacking Air Force UFO policies and attempting to influence Congress. NICAP warned members of the Colorado Project to beware less the Condon Project turn out to have been "hired to whitewash the Air Force." The Condon Report charges that NICAP made several efforts to influence the course of their study. When it became clear that NICAP could not influence the Condon Study, NICAP termed the Condon Study "biased" and without merit.(1:19)

he National Academy of Sciences supported the Condon Report and agreed with its conclusions. They concluded that the scope of the Condon Report was adequate, the methodology was correct, and its conclusions justified. The National Academy of Sciences also concurred with the Condon recommendation that Project Blue Book be terminated. They also concluded that "The study of UFOs in general is not a promising way to expand scientific understanding of the phenomena."(21:299)

While many criticize the conclusions and recommendations of the Condon Study, no one can deny that it is the most thorough and complete review or Project Blue Book ever undertaken.

Arguments pour la réouverture du projet Blue Book

Occasionally, a project such as Project Blue Book is undertaken which ultimately proves to be successful beyond the highest aspirations of its researchers. On rare occasions, this occurs because of a fortunate accident, but it is more often the result of the amalgamation of several prerequisites which have been faithfully and stringently adhered to. First, the project must be assigned a priority comparable to its importance and the potential value of its findings. Second, careful consideration must be given to select a leader to head the project who possesses the necessary qualifications, expertise, and stature to assure a thorough, well-structured study incorporating the necessary scientific methodology. Third, each member of the research staff should be judiciously chosen and should possess a background and expertise in his particular field comparable to that of the project leader. Fourth, an atmosphere completely void of bias and unsolicited outside influence must be maintained at all times to better assure valid results.

Judging from its significant nature, one would think Project Blue Book would have been such a study. Unfortunately, the research conducted by this writer indicated this was far from the truth.

This writer has briefly described some of the necessary elements of a well-conducted scientific research study and will now analyze the shortcomings of the research methodology employed by Project Blue Book.

Priorité du projet et sélecton des directeurs de projet

The Class 2A priority originally assigned to Project Blue Book at its inception in 1947 seemed to indicate the Air Force placed a high value on the project, but the fact that junior officers possessing little, if any, scientific background and no graduate or research experience were repeatedly chosen to head the project presented a dichotomy of action on the part of the Air Force.(14:268) Lack of experience and scientific training, however, can often be overcome by time and true dedication, but time was a rare commodity to Project Blue Book's officers. The first decade of Project Blue Book's existence witnessed six project chiefs, each averaging less than two years at the helm - far too little time to develop a firm foothold much less an expertise, regardless of the depth of their dedication.

Project Chiefs' Lack of Dedication

Unfortunately, dedication appeared to be a commodity as rare as time where most of Project Blue Book's project chiefs were concerned. Dr. J. Allen Hynek, currently Chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern University and formerly the Air Force's chief scientific consultant for Project Blue Book has stated that some of the project's directors constantly thought only of promotion or retirement and felt it wise not to "rock the boat" where such a controversial subject as UFOs was concerned.(l4:l86) Not all of Project Blue Book's chiefs possessed this apparent lack of dedication, how ever. At least one of the project's early chiefs expressed true puzzlement over some of the sightings and the Air Force's Chameleon-like change of attitude concerning the entire subject of UFOs. The late Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, head of Project Blue Book from September 1951 through September 1953 admitted that he was bothered by the fact that the Air Force's dominant position of "reality" (discussed earlier on page 8) at the beginning of Project Sign, in 1947, had turned to a position of "disbelief" at the inception of Project Grudge in 1949. This was particularly puzzling to Captain Ruppelt, since UFO reports seemed to be getting much better and less skeptical at that time.(29:85) The Air Force appeared to want answers, not mysteries, so the staff of Project Sign tried a new hypothesis: UFOs don't exist.

In no time they found that this was easier to prove and it got recognition. Previously, if an especially interesting UFO report came in and the Pentagon wanted an answer, all they'd get was an "it could be real but we can't prove it" Now such a request got a quick, snappy "It was a balloon," and feathers were stuck in caps from ATIC up to the Pentagon. Everybody felt fine.(29:85)

Personnel insuffisant

Perhaps one of the most serious deficiencies concerning Project Blue Book was the size, competency, and facilities of its staff. It is widely assumed that Project Blue Book enjoyed a large staff with proper facilities to accomplish a credible research. Unfortunately, this was not true. Former Project Blue Book Director, Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, once remarked at an Air Defense Command (ADC) briefing that tech orders called for Project Blue Book's staff to consist of four officers, two airmen, and two stenos. Captain Ruppelt carefully avoided mentioning the actual staff size by crossing the following line from his prepared text:

"But like any other organization the actual strength fluctuates."(24;file) The sad truth is that the actual staff of Project Blue Book was generally headed by a junior officer who was usually assisted by a Lieutenant and sometimes only by a sergeant. For one period of time a sergeant with little technical training was given the duty of evaluating most of the incoming reports. This small staff was not only expected to investigate the nearly fifty UFO reports received monthly, but had to devote much of its time to answering correspondence and filing.(14:182) Even taking into consideration the fact that some of the UFO sightings were immediately explainable, the large number of credible reports, if analyzed scientifically, would often have demanded many days and even weeks of research. In all fairness to the staff of Project Blue Book, their workload was awesome and much too great for so few to handle properly. The mere fact that the project was usually headed by a junior officer gave little leverage for its leader to initiate the tape of investigation often requested by its scientific consultant.(14:182)

Project Blue Book's rare on-scene investigations were often conducted a week after the actual sighting due to the fact that an aircraft was not readily available to the project chief. Funds were scarce and Project Blue Book's Director, sometimes a pilot, often had to resort to "hopping" a flight at the Air Force's convenience or taking a commercial flight if funds could be appropriated.

It should also be stated in fairness to the Blue Book staff that reports received from UFO officers (officers assigned the additional duty of forwarding reports of local UFO sightings to Project Blue Book) at various air bases throughout the world often lacked even the most elementary information necessary to conduct a satisfactory investigation. Follow-up calls to these UFO officers put an additional workload on the already over burdened staff of Project Blue Book.(14:181)

Approche non scientifique

The official attitude toward UFOs in 1949, for reasons unknown even to Captain Ruppelt, had become "they didn't exist, they couldn't exist."(29:83) There seemed little chance for Project Grudge, struck by bias after only two years, to survive at all. Captain Ruppelt admitted after leaving the Air Force that good UFO reports continued to come in at the rate of approximately ten per month during his tenure as Project Blue Book's chief. Unfortunately, according to Ruppelt, these reports weren't being verified or investigated.

In fact, most of them were discarded.(29:92)

Influence extérieure

Beginning in 1949, the news media constantly ran negative articles pertaining to the existence of UFOs. This was not surprising since Captain Ruppelt admitted that the negative approach was typical when issuing information to the news media. The project chief was continually being told by higher headquarters to "tell them the media? about the sightings we've solved - don't mention the unknowns."(29:89)

This apparent official change of attitude regarding Project Blue Book raises a pertinent question: did this change of attitude widen the dichotomy between the issuance of project priority and staff assignments, or did a dichotomy exist in the first place? Some of those involved in Project Blue Book began to feel that the Air Force disbelieved in UFOs from the beginning and only created Project Sign to pacify the American public. Whether or not there is any validity to this accusation is not known. One thing that is known, however, is Captain Ruppelt's admission that "the (UFO) problem was being tackled with organized confusion (by the Air Force) and everything was being evaluated, on the premise that UFOs did not exist."(29:81,83)



Whatever the Air Force's approach was regarding Project Blue Book in 1947, it was apparent by 1953 that the investigative nature or the project was not taking the direction desired by the American Government. This attitude was made even more obvious when the now famous (or infamous) Robertson panel, chaired by physicist Dr. H. P. Robertson of Cal Tech, convened in January 1953 under the auspices of the CIA to investigate the subject of UFOs. The four day meeting resulted in the following conclusions and recommendations by the Robertson panel :

  1. That the evidence presented on Unidentified Flying Objects shows no indication that these phenomena constitute a direct physical threat to national security.
  2. That there is no evidence that the phenomena indicates a need for the revision of current scientific concepts.
  3. That the continued emphasis on the reporting of these phenomena does...result in a threat to the orderly functioning of the protective organs of the body politic.
  4. That the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the special status they have been given and the aura of mystery they have acquired.
  5. That the national security agencies institute policies...designed to prepare...the country to recognize most promptly and to react most effectively to true indications of hostile intent or action.

Robertson 1953

In short, the majority of the Robertson panel felt that less, rather than more, attention should be paid to UFOs.(30:102)

Project Blue Book managed to struggle along for another fifteen years despite the conclusions of the Robertson panel, but Project Blue Book's staff was not as fortunate. Al Chop, the Pentagon's civilian Public Information Office expert on UFOs resigned his position less than two months after the Robertson panel adjourned. Captain Ruppelt quit the Air Force in September 1953 less than eight months after the Robertson panel released its conclusions, and Major Robert Fournet, Ruppelt's associate in Project Blue Book quit the Air Force at the end of his tour.(30:106) Although many felt the effect of the Robertson panel was the cause for there mass resignations, it should be noted that this was mere speculation. No official reason was ever released.

The Robertson Panel played an important role in the history of Project Blue Book, but no record of the panel is included in the original Project Blue Book files. As far as this writer could determine, the supposedly complete Blue Book files do not even mention the Robertson panel. The writer, however, was successful in uncovering a speech made by Captain Ruppelt to members of ADC at Ent AFB, Colorado a week following the meeting of the Robertson panel on January 24, 1953, which perhaps contains a clue to the reason for the resignation of Project Blue Book's staff. It should be restated at this point that negative news releases were being issued to the news media in 1953, the Air Force privately maintained an attitude that regarded UFOs, as "non-existent" and it was the Air Force's desire to downplay UFO sightings categorized as "unknown". The Air Force had consistently maintained that most UFO sightings had been identified and most of the "unknowns" could be explained if better information were available. With this atmosphere prevalent, Captain Ruppelt flew to Colorado Springs and committed the unpardonable sin of disagreeing with official Air Force policy and statistics before a group of fellow Air Force officers. The discrepancy might have been intentional, but it was likely that Ruppelt felt he could speak more candidly before his peers. Regardless of the reason, some of Ruppelt's statements presented a stark contrast and departure from the attitude the Air Force wished to project - at least to the civilian populace. At one point in his speech, Ruppelt discussed the fairly common occurrence of simultaneous radar-visual sightings by saying:

...reports of simultaneous visual reports that supposedly correlate with unusual, high speed or erratic radar tracks, with the rare exception or meteors and lightening, are a different story. No presently known phenomena or condition will give this situation. If it can be shown that the object sighted visually and the radar tracks are the same, the report warrants a detailed investigation.(24:file)

If Ruppelt "took the cake out of the oven" with that remark, he certainly added the icing by later admitting:

I might state now that the project will be continued and the subject will continue to be treated seriously. There are several reasons why the project will be continued. _There are reports we can not explain._ (Underlining Ruppelt's) We believe we can explain all but about 20% but if you noted the breakdown of conclusions, we can only positively identify about 7%. (underlining is Ruppelt's) (24:file)

Poor Structure and Methodology of Project Blue Book

When Project Blue Book was closed in 1969, the official Air Force estimates of "unsolved" cases ranged from less than 1 per cent to 2.09 per cent.(14:259) Ruppelt's 1953 statement placed the number of UFO sightings that could not be positively identified at 93 per cent. Either the Air Force figures released to the public were conveniently exaggerated in Project Blue Book's favor or the Air Force had devised a more accurate method of determining the validity of UFO reports between 1953 and 1969, A more probable explanation for this apparent discrepancy in calculations is offered by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Project Blue Book's official scientific consultant:

In the evaluation of cases it has been the custom to employ the terms "possible" or "improbable" as modifiers to a given evaluation; thus "possible aircraft" or "probable meteor" are often used. However, in the year-end compilations of cases these modifiers are conveniently dropped. Thus "possible aircraft" becomes simply "aircraft" and the public will be led to believe that there was no possible question....Not only had the "probable" and "possible" labels been deleted from the statistics, but sightings previously considered only possibly explained were now "definitely established" - not because of further investigations, but because of book-keeping procedures.(14:256)

Dr. Hynek insisted that Project Blue Book's methodology was completely unscientific since no scientist would test only for a preconceived hypothesis and rule out the possibility of another hypothesis. Yet this was common practice with Project Blue Book. The Project Blue Book staff would consistently dismiss case after case because the local air base had reported that no aircraft were in the vicinity at the time of the UFO sighting. Dr. Hynek suggested that a scientific approach would have been to "manifest scientific curiosity about the matters in hand" and to "attempt to find patterns in data rather than handling each datum as though it existed in a vacuum".(14:266) The Project Blue Book staff should have been researching for a solution that was consistent with the basic data of the report and not with the working hypothesis."(14:267)

Poor Cataloguing Procedures

The entire results of the twenty-two year study of Project Blue Book fill twenty-four standard filing-type drawers in the Albert E. Simpson Historical Research Center at Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, Alabama. An additional drawer contains artifacts, motion pictures of Purported UFOs, and tape recordings of eyewitness reports on UFO sightings. The best thing that can be said for the files is that they are listed in chronological order and are readily available to anyone who knows exactly what he or she is looking for. Researchers must know the exact date and place of the UFO sighting in order to obtain material from the files. It should be noted at this point that this atrocious method of cataloguing is not the fault of the Albert E. Simpson Historical Research Center personnel. The staff of Project Blue Book apparently lacked the foresight or inclination to computerize the data contained in the reports and made no attempt to do so even when a procedure was suggested by Drs. J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee.(l4:183)

Except for two l6mm NBC and CBS television films, the movies contained in the artifacts drawer represent a travesty of film splicing. The film splices are often made with scotch tape or masking tape causing the film to tear to shreds when the tape hits the projector sprockets. This amateurish and crude attempt at film splicing was performed prior to the films' shipment to Maxwell AFB by Project Blue Book personnel. One can only hope that this was not a reflection of the attitude and approach the staff of Project Blue Book took towards the entire study.

In October of 1958, the Air Force's game of "musical chairs", which it had consistently played for over a decade with no fewer than six project chiefs appeared to have reached an end. Major Robert J. Friend was appointed to head Project Blue Book and remained at the helm for almost five years, although the Air Force continued to juggle personnel in and out of the UFO Project Spokesman position at the Pentagon. Consequently, Major Friend worked with three different project spokesmen during his assignment as Project Chief. Dr. Hynek speaks well of Major Friend's approach to Project Blue Book, which was considerably more objective than that of his predecessors'. Major Friend was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during his tenure as Director of Project Blue Book. During his five year's in the job, Lt. Col. Friend and Dr. Hynek organized a panel of scientists which met to assist in evaluating various UFO sightings, but this effort lacked backing from the Air Force and was short-lived.(14:198) At this point, Lt. Col. Friend's appointment as Project Blue Book's director was terminated. The Air Force decided to once again attempt to achieve the proper mix of Project Director and UFO spokesman which would be "politically" acceptable. This final mix, after sixteen years of almost constant personnel shuffling, was apparently successful from the Air Force's point of view. The new appointees each held their respective positions for over six years until the close of Project Blue Book. The new Project Director rose from the rank of Captain to Lieutenant Colonel in the process. Since these positions had been precarious, at best, one might assume that these two men either performed their duties in an excellent manner or projected the attitude toward UFOs deemed proper by the Pentagon.

The research performed by this writer indicates the latter assumption is probably correct. Methodology at this time was no better than before. One needs only to look in the Project Blue Book files between August 1963 and December 1969 to realize the new Project Blue Book methodology was poor. A considerably greater number of sightings were labeled "identified" during this period since the words "possible" and "probable" were consistently dropped from most UFO reports - a method familiar to, but more sparingly used by, previous Project Blue Book management. During the final years of Project Blue Book, it was not unusual to see three or four explanations for the same UFO sighting with no reason given for determining the final selection Since the final Project Blue Book Director's successful tenure and promotion was apparently not due to his excellence as a scientifically disciplined researcher, one can only assume that he was projecting the attitude and approach towards UFO investigations desired by the Air Force.

This writer felt that no clearer description or example of what the Air Force condoned as proper methodology could be offered than to present an actual case from the Project Blue Book files. Any number of sightings could be reconstructed at this point, but this writer chose to retrace the UFO sighting near Lincoln, New Hampshire on September 20, 1961 reported by Mr. and Mrs. Barney Hill. The Hill sighting plays an important role in the conclusion of this chapter.

The Betty and Barney Hill Sighting

While traveling near Lincoln, New Hampshire on midnight the evening of September 19, 1961, Barney and Betty Hill spotted a bright object in the sky. Mrs. Hill noticed that the object appeared to grow brighter and larger and appeared to be moving, but actual motion was difficult to verify due to the movement of their automobile. Barney Hill stopped the car so they could get a better look at the object, and it was determined that the "star, or the light, or whatever it was, was definitely moving."(10:45) The Hills resumed their trip but continued to view the strange object which now appeared much closer. Its flight seemed erratic and the speed seemed to fluctuate. Red, amber, green, and blue lights were now visible on the object which had crossed the face of the moon and appeared to be playing games with them. The couple lost sight of the object temporarily until it suddenly appeared approximately 300 feet to the right of their car.(10:46) At this point Barney stopped the car, grabbed his binoculars, and walked toward the object, which he now realized was a spacecraft. Barney stopped approximately fifty feet away from the object and began viewing the UFO through his binoculars and noticed at least six living creatures staring back at him from behind the craft's windows. Barney immediately ran screaming toward his car. Reaching his automobile in a state of near hysteria, he jammed the car into gear and sped toward his original destination. Barney and Betty were suddenly aware of an electronic beeping sound and they began to feel an odd tingling sensation and were overcome by a dazed feeling. Sometime later, they were again aware of the beeping sound and noticed they were almost thirty-five miles away from the area where the UFO sighting occurred. Barney and Betty reached their home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire near daylight. Both their watches had stopped, but their kitchen clock read shortly after 5 a.m. This was particularly odd since they should have arrived home at approximately 3 a.m. For some peculiar reason, they were unable to account for two hours of their trip. Shortly after awakening late that same afternoon, Betty Hill called her sister and informed her of their experience. Betty's sister then talked with the former police chief of Newton, New Hampshire who suggested that the Hills should report their sighting to nearby Pease, AFB.(10:47) Betty's sister relayed this information to her, and Mrs. Hill contacted the Air Police at Peace AFB the following day, September 21, 1961. Both Barney and Betty Hill talked with Major Paul W. Henderson of the 100th Bomb Wing (SAC) at Pease AFB and relayed the bare outline of their sighting. Since Barney was concerned about being considered irrational, he purposely avoided mentioning the figures observed in the craft. (10:47) The official Air Force Form 112, report No. 100-1-61, as transcribed by Major Henderson appears in Project Blue Book files as follows:

On the night of 19-20 Sept. between 20/0001 and 20/0100 Mr. & Mrs. Hill were traveling south on route 3 near Lincoln, N. H. when they observed, through the windshield of their car, a strange object in the sky. They noticed it because of its shape and the intensity of its lighting as compared to the stars in the sky. The weather and sky was clear at the time.

Report contained herein is IAW par. 15, AFR 200-2, dated 14 Sept. 1959.

  1. Description of Object
    1. Continuous band of lights - cigar shaped at all times despite change of direction.
    2. Size: When first observed it appeared to be about the size of a nickel at arms length. Later when it seemed to be a matter of hundreds of feet above the automobile it would be about the size of a dinner plate held at arms length.
    3. Color: Only color evident was that of the band of light when (sic) was comparable to the intensity and color of a filament of an incandescent lamp. (see reference to "wing tip" lights.)
    4. Number: One
    5. Formation: None
    6. Feature or details: See 1 above. During periods of observation wings seemed to appear from the main body. Described as V-shaped with red lights on tips. Later, wings appeared to extend further.
    7. Tail, trail or exhaust: None observed.
    8. Sound: None except as described in item E.
  2. Description of course of Object.
    1. First observed through windshield of car, Size and brightness of object compared to visible stars attracted observers' attention.
    2. Angle of elevation, first observed: about 45 deg.
    3. Angle of elevation at disappearance: Not determinable because of inability to observe its departure from the auto.
    4. Flight path & maneuvers: See item E.
    5. How object disappeared: See item E.
    6. Length of observation: Approx 30 min's.
  3. Manner of Observation
    1. Ground-visual
    2. Binoculars used at times
    3. Sighting made from inside auto while moving and stopped. Observed from within and outside auto.
  4. Location and details: On the night of 19-20 September between 20/0001 and 20/0100 the observers were traveling by car in a southerly direction of Route 3 south of Lincoln, N.H. when they noticed a brightly lighted object ahead of their car at an angle of elevation of approximately 45 deg. it appeared strange to them because of its shape and the intensity of its lights compared to the stars in the sky. Weather and sky were clear.

They continued to observe the object from their moving car for a few minutes then stopped.

After stopping the car they used binoculars at times.

They report that the object was traveling north very fast. They report it changed directions rather abruptly and then headed south. Shortly thereafter it stopped and hovered in the air. There was no sound evident up to this point. While hovering, objects began to appear from the body of the "object" which they describe as looking like wings which made a V-shape when extended. The "wings" had red lights on the tips. At this point they observed it to appear to swoop down in the general direction of their auto. The object continued to descend until it appeared to be only a matter of "hundreds of feet" above their car.

At this point they decided to get out of that area, and fast. Mr. Hill was driving and Mrs. Hill was prevented from observing its full departure by her position in the car.

They report that while the object was above them after it had "swooped down" they heard a series of short loud "buzzes" which they described as something like someone dropped a tuning fork. They report that they could feel these buzzing sounds in their auto. No further visual observations were made of this object. They continued on their trip and when they arrived in the vicinity of Ashland, N.H,, about 30 miles from Lincoln, they again heard the "buzzing" sound of the "object"; however, they did not see it at this time.

Mrs. Hill reported the flight pattern of the "object" to be erratic, changed directions rapidly, that during its flight it ascended and descended numerous times very rapidly. Its flight was described as jerky and not smooth.

Mr. Hill is a Civil Service employee in the Boston Post Office and doesn't possess any technical or scientific training. Neither does his wife.

During a later conversation with Mr. Hill, he volunteered the observation that he did not originally intend to report this incident but in as much as he & his wife did see this occurrence he decided to report it. He says that on looking back he feels that the whole thing is incredible and he feels somewhat foolish - he just can not believe that such a thing could or did happen. He says, on the other hand, that they both saw what they reported and this fact gives it some degree of reality.

Information contained herein was collected by means of telephone conversation between the observers and the preparing individual. The reliability of the observer cannot be judged and while his apparent honesty and seriousness appears to be valid it cannot be judged at this time.(26:file)

There is no indication that the Hills were ever contacted by the Air Force after this report was filed. This is particularly strange since Project Blue Book files show that a UFO was spotted and tracked by Air Force radar operators at nearby Concord AFS, Vermont less that seven hours prior to the Hills' sighting. Another UFO was sighted by Pease AFB precision approach radar only two hours following the Hill visual sighting. The report of the first radar sighting was not wired to the Project Blue Book staff at Wright-Patterson AFB until nearly three days after the actual sighting took place. Personnel at the N. Concord AFS, Vermont sent their TWX on 22 September 1961 at 0234Z. The radar sighting took place on 19 September at 2122Z.(26:file)

The report of the Barney and Betty Hill sighting containing an additional comment regarding the UFO spotted and tracked by the Pease AFB radar was not wired to Project Blue Book headquarters, despite the fact that it was normal USAF policy to do so. Instead, the Directorate of Administrative Services at Pease AFB mailed the information to Project Blue Book on September 29, 1961 - eight days after the original Hill report was filed, An accompanying memo sent by Pease AFB explained that "Non-availability of observers for early interrogation precluded electrical transmission of report."(26:file) This is a particularly puzzling statement, since the Hills were readily available for interrogation at any time. Conversations with the Hills were concluded on September 21, 1961.

On September 25, 1961, Project Blue Book's Director sent the information regarding the N. Concord AFS radar sighting to the Electronics Branch of the USAF's Foreign Technology Division requesting comment. The Deputy for Science and Components answered Project Blue Book's request on September 28, 1961 with the following memo:

Memo, TD-E (Major Friend), 25 Sep 61, (U) Request for Review

1st Ind (TD-Ela/Mr. V.D. Bryant/74201 28 September 1961

TO: TD-E (Major Friend)

  1. The relatively low speed and high altitude of the subject UFO, coupled with an erratic course (including hovering), appear to rule out a normal aircraft target and favor some target as a weather balloon.
  2. It is suggested that if it is desired to pursue the investigation further, a check might be made of activities in the area responsible for launching and tracking weather balloons.


Colonel, USAF n/c
Chief, Electronics Division
Deputy for Science and Components (26:file)

There is no indication that Project Blue Book ever checked activities in the area responsible for launching and tracking weather balloons. The Director of Project Blue Book apparently accepted the Foreign Technology Division's explanation.

The official Project Blue Book Project 10073 Record Card regarding the N. Concord AFS radar sighting reads as follows:

    1. Date: 19 Sept 61
    2. Location: N. Concord AFS, Vermont
    3. Date: Time Group-GMT 19 2122Z (September 19, 1722 Eastern Time)
    4. Type of observation: Ground-Radar
    5. Photos; No
    6. Source: Military
    7. Length of Observation: 18 min.
    8. Number of objects: 1
    9. Course: S
    10. Brief summary of sighting: Return on H/F (height-finder) radar size of a/c (aircraft) appearing as normal target at 62,000 appeared 196 deg. at 84 mi, lost on contact 199 deg. at 80 mi, going NW then S and gradually S on scope 18 min. (The original TWX not reproduced here but on file with original Blue Book material describes the UFO sighted as "a large aircraft").
    11. Comments: Relative low speed and high altitude coupled with erratic course including weather balloon.
    12. Conclusion: Probably balloon.

Page number one of the Form 112 reporting the UFO sighting of Betty and Barney Hill included the following radar sighting as an additional item. The subtlety of its mention, as a mere afterthought, certainly belies its significance. The additional item reads as follows:

During a casual conversation on 22 Sept 61 between Major Gardiner B. Reynolds, 100th B W DCOI and Captain Robert O. Daughaday, Commander 1917-2 AACS DIT, Pease AFB, NH it was revealed that a strange incident occurred at 0214 local on 20 Sept. No importance was attached to the incident at the time. Subsequent interrogation failed to bring out any information in addition to the extract of the "Daily Report to the Controller". Copy of this extract is attached. It is not possible to determine any relationship between these two observations, as the radar observation provides no description. Time and distance between the events could hint of a possible relationship. (Underlining ours)

The extract referred to in the above memo read:


0614Z (0214 a.m.) OBSERVED UNIDENTIFIED A/C COME ON PAR (Precision approach radar) 4 MILES OUT.


Captain, USAF
Commander (26:file)

The official Project Blue Book Project 10073 Record Card concerning Barney and Betty Hill's visual sighting of a UFO and the UFO sighted on the Pease AFB radar reads as follows :

    1. Date: 20 Sep 61
    2. Location; Lincoln, NH
    3. Date-Time Group: Local 0001-0100 GMT: 20 0401-05002
    4. Type of observation: Ground-visual Air intercept radar.
    5. Photos: No
    6. Source: Military
    7. Length of observation: 30 min.
    8. No. of objects: 1
    9. Course: N
    10. Brief summary of sighting: Continuous band of lights. Cigar-shaped at all times despite changes of direction. Wings seemed to appear fm main body. Described as V-shaped with red lights on tips: later wings appeared to extend further. Appeared about 45 deg. Varied direction abruptly and disappeared to north.
    11. Comments: Both radar and visual sighting are probably due to conditions resulting from strong inversion which prevailed in area on morning of sighting. Actual source of light viewed is not known but it has all the characteristics of an advertising searchlight. Radar probably was looking at some ground target due to strong inversion (a temperature inversion can take place in a perfectly clear sky). No evidence indicating objects were due to other than natural causes.
    12. Conclusions: Optical condition (later changed to "inversion", and still later changed to "insufficient data".)(26:file)

It is interesting to note that the Project 10073 Record Card was typewritten except for a ball-point checkmark in the air-intercept radar box in item number four. The official Form 112 submitted to Project Blue Book by Pease AFB officials indicated the radar sighting was made on precision-approach radar. Since there was no indication of an air intercept having taken place, it might be assumed that the air-intercept radar box was marked incorrectly. It is important to note, however that this is merely an assumption of this writer. It is also interesting to note the comment made in item 11 regarding the UFO as having all the characteristics of an advertising searchlight. This possible explanation raises the question of what an advertising searchlight would have been used for in Lincoln, N.H. between midnight and 1 a.m. in the morning. There is no indication that Project Blue Book ever followed the searchlight hypothesis although it would have been relatively simple to discover whether or not a searchlight was actually in use in Lincoln, N.H. on the date in question.

Project Blue Book certainly can not be blamed for the time delay regarding the TWX sent by the N. Concord AFS and letter sent by Pease AFB. They must be given credit for at least following through, to some extent, on the N. Concord AFS sighting. It is this writer's opinion, however, that Project Blue Book's explanation regarding the searchlight was an example of mere speculation with no attempt at follow-up. Although a correlation between the UFO reported by the Hills and the UFO tracked on the Pease AFB radar was indicated as a possibility by Pease AFB officials, Project Blue Book officials make no further mention of it.

On November 15, 1961, almost two months after the Barney and Betty Hill sighting, a Project Blue Book official telephoned the Air Weather Service at Ashville North Carolina requesting copies of Rawinsonde (graphic adiabatic weather charts) observations of the Lincoln, N.H. area for 17-22 September 1961. This was an apparent attempt to support Project Blue Book's former "inversion" explanation. Since Lincoln, N.H. does not take Rawinsonde observations, and Portland, Maine was the closest station to do so, Project Blue Book's hypothesis could not be validated.

Project Blue Book ended their investigation of the Barney and Betty Hill sighting and the corresponding radar sightings at this point without ever recontacting the Hills. This is a particularly disturbing aspect of this sighting. The Hill file is much larger than many of the other Project Blue Book files, but this is due primarily to the thickness of news clipping, and magazine articles that were later included. Project Blue Book officials made meager attempts at "solving" the case by asking information of two other USAF offices, No attempt was made, however, to recontact the Hills or to interview them in person. No attempt was made to visit the reported UFO landing sight. No attempt was made at drawing a possible correlation between the visual and radar UFO reports even though former Project Blue Book Director, Captain E.J. Ruppelt admitted as early as January 24, 1953, that visual reports that supposedly correlate with erratic radar tracks warrant a detailed investigation.(24:file)

The official Air Force explanation regarding the Hills' UFO sighting turned out to be almost as erratic as the radar and visual sightings themselves. The official explanations in this particular case included "weather inversion", "the Planet Jupiter", "optical condition", and finally "insufficient data". If one counts the explanation given for the N. Concord AFS UFO sighting, the explanation of "weather balloon" can also be added. "Weather inversion" became a favorite "catch-all" explanation at Project Blue Book, according to Dr. J. Allen Hynek. A 3 deg. inversion existing at 6000 feet has been used to explain a sighting made by an aircraft at 15,000 feet. The Air Force maintains excellent scientific facilities at its Cambridge laboratories but Project Blue Book officials never once contacted this facility to calculate whether the inversions to which a sighting was attributed were actually sufficient, quantitatively, to account for the UFO sighting.(14:268)

The official Air Force release regarding the Barney and Betty Hill UFO sighting reads as follows:

Information on Barney Hill sighting, 20 September 1961, Lincoln, New Hampshire. The Barney Hill sighting was investigated by officials from Pease AFB. The case is carried as insufficient data in the Air Force files. No direction (azimuth) was reported and there are inconsistencies in the report. The sighting occurred about midnight and the object was observed for at least one hour. No specific details on maneuverability were given. The Planet Jupiter was in the South West, at about 20 degrees elevation and would have set at the approximate time that the object disappeared. Without positional data the case could not be evaluated as Jupiter. There was a strong inversion in the area. The actual light source is not known. As no lateral or vertical movement was noted, the object was in all probability Jupiter. No evidence was presented to indicate that the object was due to other than natural causes.(26:file)

This official release is confusing since directions of flight (azimuth) were supplied by the Hills. The official release also mentions inconsistencies in the Hill report, but none of the inconsistencies are mentioned, and this writer has been unable to uncover any. The Planet Jupiter is mentioned in the official release as the probable sighting observed by the Hills but Barney and Betty Hill mentioned the fact that the object passed in front of the moon at one point and contained colored lights. The official Project Blue Book release states that the Hill sighting was observed for at least one hour, yet the sighting time listed on the official report was "3O minutes". The Air Force release also claims that no lateral or vertical movement was noted yet the official Air Force report mentions descending, ascending, and swooping movements.(26:file) The official Air Force release concludes by stating that no evidence was presented to indicate that the object was due to other than natural causes but makes no mention of the radar tracking. All in all, the official investigation of this sighting appears, at best, to be shallow and incomplete.

Further Developments in the Barney and Betty Hill Case

In the week following their initial UFO report, Betty Hill was plagued by nightmares that she and Barney had encountered a strange roadblock on a lonely New Hampshire road. She dreamed that a group of men forced her and Barney to board a spacecraft where they were both made to submit to a physical examination.(10:48) During the ensuing months, both Barney and Betty were increasingly bothered by anxiety and by the disturbing fact that two hours of the morning of September 20, 1961, remained unaccounted for. Finally, on February 22, 1964,

Barney agreed to undergo questioning under hypnosis by Dr. Benjamin Simon, the distinguished Boston psychiatrist and neurologist. Betty Hill was questioned under hypnosis by Dr. Simon the following week.(11:11) The tape recorded sessions proved to be fascinating and uncovered some startling information.

Under hypnosis, Barney and Betty Hill told of humanoid (human-like) creatures forcing them to board a spacecraft. The crew of the spacecraft conversed in a manner described by Barney as "humming", although Betty was able to converse with the leader in English and was able to understand the leader's speech in a manner not clearly describable by Betty Hill. Barney and Betty were taken into different rooms for a physical examination. During the course of the examination, a needle was inserted into Betty's navel and was explained as a pregnancy test. After Betty's examination was concluded, she inquired about what appeared to be a star map on the wall of the spacecraft. The leader explained that the map was actually a map of exploratory and trade routes (This star map incident was to play an extremely important role many years later.) Both Barney and Betty Hill were told that they would remember nothing of the time they had spent aboard the spacecraft and were then released.

The time that the Hills spent aboard the spacecraft could very well explain the two hours of their trip which were previously unaccounted for. Assuming the examinations did take two hours, and the UFO left shortly after releasing the Hills, an eerie time correlation can be drawn between the Hills' reported midnight sighting and the UFO tracked by Pease AFB radar at 2:L4 a.m.

The Barney and Betty Hill story was first printed in a series of six newspaper articles in the "Boston Traveler" in October 1965. Almost a year later, "Look Magazine" ran articles describing the Hills' experience and their testimony under hypnosis. The actual information revealed under hypnosis was published as a book by John Fuller entitled, "Interrupted Journey."

The notoriety surrounding the Hill experience apparently had little effect on Project Blue Book's investigation of the case. In fact, Project Blue Book now considered the Hill case closed with "zero priority". The only evidence that the new Project Blue Book staff paid any attention to the renewed notoriety of the Hill case was the fact that the two "Look Magazine" articles and copies of the "Boston Traveler" articles regarding the Hills' experience were included in Project Blue Book's official file on the Barney and Betty Hill case.

On November 9, 1965, ten days after the last Hill article appeared in the "Boston Traveler", Project Blue Book's Deputy Director of Information mailed copies of the articles to the Pentagon's UFO spokesman. The articles were later returned to Project Blue Book's files with a page attached which contained a combination of sixteen questions or statements in an attempt to discredit the information contained in the "Boston Traveler" articles. The note was unsigned and it is not known whether the questions and statements were written by the Pentagon's UFO spokesman or the Director of Project Blue Book. Regardless of who wrote the note, it remains an excellent example of the attitude prevalent through out the Project Blue Book organization and how little information the author of the note possessed regarding a UFO case as extraordinary as the Hills'.

This writer will list all of the statements and questions contained in the aforementioned attachment in the order originally listed.(24:file) Immediately following each statement or question, this writer will supply an answer or comment.

  1. (Statement) Le cas Hill est clos, et a une priorité 0.
    Apparently no consideration was given to reopen this case, even though startling additional revelations under hypnosis seemed to warrant further investigation.
  2. (Statement) "Foreign" does not mean foreign to the United States.
    This statement was made to correct a statement published in the first Boston Traveler article regarding the Hills which appeared on Monday, October 25, 1965. The article stated that "foreign" (in Foreign Technology Division) means foreign to this earth and not simply alien to this country.(18:B-7)
  3. (First Statement) FTD (Foreign Technology Division) is directed by AFSC (Air Force Systems Command) at Andrews AFB, not the CIA.
    The "Boston Traveler" stated that the FTD was directed by the CIA which takes over and investigates UFO reports the Air Force itself cannot explain.(18:B-7)
    (Second Statement) The CIA does not investigate the unidentifieds.
    This was not a completely accurate statement since the Robertson Panel of 1953 was held under the auspices of the CIA and investigated UFOs and the findings of Project Blue Book to date.(29:file)
  4. (Statement) Name one scientist of "astrophysicist" studying this case.
    This writer can name one excellent example: Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern University and the Air Force's Scientific consultant on Project Blue Book.(14:156)
  5. (Statement) NICAP (The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon) is not a "scientific" agency.
    This involves a question of semantics. What exactly is a "scientific agency"? NICAP is a non-profit worldwide organization incorporated in the District of Columbia. Its main purpose is the scientific investigation and research of reported UFOs, and encouragement of full reporting to the public by responsible authorities of all information that the Government has accumulated on the subject.(10:46) Many astronomers, professional pilots, and scientists are members of NICAP.
  6. (Question) Walter Webb astronomer? Yes, No?
    Walter Webb was an astronomer and a lecturer on the staff of Hayden Planetarium.(10:47)
  7. (Question) Is Hill (Barney Hill) emotionally mature?
    Dr. Simon, the psychiatrist who questioned Barney Hill under hypnosis never gave any indication that Mr. Hill was immature.(10:45) In fact, Barney Hill was reluctant to report the UFO incident in the first place.(26:file)
  8. (Statement) Note that they withheld information and waited two days (before reporting the sighting to Pease AFB). They reported only that there appeared a bright star moving toward them in a northerly direction.
    The Hills did not wait two days before reporting the incident. The UFO was spotted in the early minutes of January 20, 1961. Barney and Betty Hill didn't arrive home until 5 a.m. on January 20, 1961, and slept until after 3 p.m. Betty Hill's sister convinced Betty and Barney later that same afternoon that their UFO sighting should be reported to Pease AFB. Since it was most likely early evening by that time, it does not seem unusual for the Hills to wait until the following day, September 21, 1961, to report the incident.(10:47) The Hills relayed much more information than simply stating that they had seen a bright star moving toward them in a northerly direction as was quite evident from reading their original report included earlier in this paper.(26:file)
  9. (Question and Statement) Two years later?... Evaluated in 1961 (info supplied to Herbert S. Taylor in 1963).
    This writer has not determined specifically what the above question and statement mean. A regular Project Blue Book press release was forwarded to Herbert S. Taylor as requested by Taylor in his letter of August 27, 1963, but the gist of question and statement number nine remains unclear.(26:file)
  10. (Question and Statement) Records? Indicate an intensive? Come now. We did not even bother to contact the Hills personally.
    This item was in reference to a statement made in the third "Boston Traveler" article regarding the Hills' UFO sighting. The article reported as follows: "What the Air Force wasn't saying, however, is that its Foreign Technology Division in Ohio has quietly assumed charge of a new - intensive investigation..." (17:B-2) It is particularly interesting to note that whoever typed the list of sixteen questions and statements admitted that Project Blue Book did not bother to contact the Hills personally. This is hardly a statement to boast about and once again conveys the shallowness of their "investigation".
  11. (Question) No one else saw the same object the Hills did, who are the others???
    Barney Hill insisted that Pease AFB officials informed him that they had received other reports similar to his.(26:file) These reports do not appear in the Project Blue Book files. Of course, two radar sightings took place which supported the Hills' report, but who ever composed this list of questions did not refer to them.
  12. Sought psychiatric help. Does this indicate emotional maturity? What are the conclusions of the psychiatrist ?
    Seeking psychiatric help does not necessarily indicate immaturity. The conclusions of Dr. Simon are as follows: Some aspects of the experience are unanswered, and, perhaps, unanswerable at this time. Nothing is finally settled. Nothing is absolutely proved to me regarding the alleged "abduction". Neither patient is psychotic, and both consciously and under hypnosis told what they believed to be absolute truth. The charisma of hypnosis has tended to foster the belief that it is the magical road to truth. In one sense, this is so, but it must be understood that hypnosis is a pathway to the truth as it is felt and understood by the patient. The truth is what he believes to be the truth, and this may not be consonant with the ultimate and nonpersonal truth. Most frequently it is.(10:45)
  13. (Question) Who was the accredited scientific investigator who heard the tapes?
    If a representative of Project Blue Book or the Air Force asked this question, it is rather embarrassing since their own scientific consultant, Dr. J. Allen Hynek actually participated in hypnotic sessions between Dr. Simon and the Hills. Hynek was not acting on behalf of the Air Force at the time.
  14. (Statement) Final evaluation is made at Wright-Patterson on the data submitted from Pease AFB and other information from their own investigation into the matter. (Under lining ours.)
    What other information? This writer hopes this is not a reference to Project Blue Book's request for Rawinsonde observations, which proved futile.
  15. (Statement) The time motion sequence is missing in all reports. Such directions as "to the right" "up" etc. have no validity.
    Only directions reported in azimuth and evaluation have value.
    The Hills indicated the UFOs elevation when first sighted and also gave information pertaining to direction in their report to Pease AFB.(26:file) The angle of elevation when the UFO disappeared was not available but no further information regarding azimuth or elevation was asked by Pease AFB officials. Further information of this nature was revealed by the Hills while under hypnosis, however, and was readily available to Project Blue Book in 1966 if they had listened to Dr. Simon's tapes or had bothered to ask the Hills.(26:file)
  16. (Statement) The files are maintained at Wright-Patterson, not Pease AFB.
    This is a true, but relatively unimportant, statement.

Prior to the publication of their series of articles on the Hills, the "Boston Traveler" requested a copy of the original Air Force Information Report 100-1-61 originally prepared by Major Paul Henderson at Pease AFB. A "copy" of the report was furnished by Project Blue Book one month later. The sixth article printed by the "Boston Traveler" reported that "It was actually a typewritten copy, not a reproduction. It was mistakenly dated September 1963, instead of 1961 when the report was compiled. It made not mention of radar shimmerings..."(19:B-1) The statement regarding shimmerings was in reference to an earlier remark by Pease AFB officials that the UFO appeared on its radar as a "shimmering" - an air mass phenomena that reflects light from the ground. (18:B-7) The truth is that the information that Project Blue Book released to the "Boston Traveler" was an incomplete typewritten copy of the original Air Force Information Report 100-1-61. Project Blue Book had failed to include the additional item from the report which referred to a "strange incident (that) occurred at 0214 local on 20 Sept (1961)." The "strange incident", of course, was the report of a radar sighting by Pease AFB precision approach radar. The radar "shimmering" originally reported to the press was much more than a shimmer indicating an air mass. It was a bonafide sighting (see page 55). It is not clear why Project Blue Book purposely withheld information to the press regarding the Pease AFB radar sighting, but it certainly supported the Government's attitude that UFOs did not exist. This was an example of the way Project Blue Book's final director protected the Government's attitude. This was also perhaps an example of why this director remained in his position longer than any of his predecessors. To paraphrase former Project Blue Book Director Captain Edward Ruppelt, "the Hill case was dead - just when the information was getting better." (29:85) Not only was the Hill case dead, but Project Blue Book was now mortally ill itself.

Finally, in October 1966, the Air Force dealt Project Blue Book what ultimately proved to be its death sentence. The Air Force selected the late Dr. Edward U. Condon and the University of Colorado to conduct its Scientific Investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects, a study to determine whether or not Project Blue Book should be continued.

Le comité Condon

The shortage of funds which continually plagued the Air Force's Project Blue Book suddenly ceased to be a problem when the Air Force decided to hire Dr. Edward Condon to conduct a scientific investigation of UFOs. The two year investigation to determine whether or not Project Blue Book should be continued ultimately cost the Air Force $525,905 and led directly to the demise of Project Blue Book.(30:183)

Dr. Edward U. Condon was a distinguished physicist and second in command at the secret atomic installation in Los Alamos, New Mexico during the development of the atomic bomb. Dr. Condon was also the former president of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Physical Society, and former director of the U.S. Government's National Bureau of Standards.(12:58) The selection of Dr. Condon as Director of the University of Colorado's Scientific Investigation of Unidentified Flying Objects (commonly referred to as the Condon Committee) seemed to satisfy both skeptical observers and those convinced of the existence of UFOs. Dr. Condon's leadership appeared to promise the scientific objectivity necessary for such a study, but so obviously missing from Project Blue Book's methodology. Associations such as the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) were satisfied by the selection of Dr. Condon to lead the new UFO study, but were bothered by a curious factor. Four out of the first five investigators appointed by Condon were psychologists. Robert J. Low, the project's coordinator and key operations man held a Master's Degree in Business Administration (although his B.A. was in Electrical Engineering). Many observers felt that more physical scientists were needed and Dr. Condon later corrected this imbalance.(12:58) Since Dr. Condor pledged a fair study, UFOlogists such as Dr. J. Allen Hynek, aided by NICAP, briefed the Condon Committee. NICAP trained field teams and loaned the Condon Committee verified UFO reports submitted by pilots, aerospace engineers and other capable observers.(12:62)

It appeared to satisfied UFOlogists that an objective UFO study was finally underway. Their satisfaction was short-lived, however, by a remark made by the Project Coordinator of the Condon Committee in October 1966, Robert Low was quoted by "The Denver Post" as saying that the UFO project "comes pretty close to the criteria of nonacceptability" as a university function.(12:58) On January 25, 1967, Dr. Edward Condon, speaking before an honorary scientific fraternity remarked, "Unidentified Flying objects are not the business of the Air Force... it is my inclination right now to recommend that the Government get out this business... my attitude right now is that there's nothing to it...but I'm not supposed to reach a conclusion for another year...."(12:58) The fact that Dr. Condon maintained that some of his remarks had been taken out of context did little to bolster the confidence that UFOlogists formerly possessed regarding the Condon Committee. NICAP continued to cooperate with Dr. Condon and the University of Colorado but was increasingly disturbed by rumors of internal friction from within the Condon Committee. Robert Low was apparently giving staff members considerable leeway in the approaches they were taking to the study. Dr. Condon appeared before committee members infrequently and could rarely be reached by phone. During this time, Dr. David R. Sanders, a scientific investigator on Condon's staff complained that several interesting UFO cases were turned down by project coordinator Low for what was apparently specious reasons.(12:50) Dr. Norman Levine, another scientific member on Dr. Condon' s staff, joined the project after it was well underway and was immediately aware of the strained atmosphere developing between Low and several members of the staff. Dr. Condon, himself, was heard to say that he wished he could give the Air Force's money back.(12:59)

The project's credibility suffered another blow when a member of Dr. Condon's staff was asked to speak before a teachers association regarding the UFO project. The staff member began looking for information regarding the origin of the project and was advised to check the open file folder under the heading "Air Force Contract and Background".(12:59) This advice led to the discovery of a memo written by Dr. Robert Low to university officials on August 9, 1966, three months before the UFO study officially began. The memo, labeled "Some Thoughts on the UFO Project" revealed the study was not as objective and unbiased as first thought. Robert Low's memo to university officials read:

Our study would be conducted almost exclusively by nonbelievers who, although they couldn't possibly prove a negative result could, and probably would, add an impressive body of evidence that there is no reality to the observations. The trick would be, I think, to describe the project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study but to the scientific community would present the image of a group of nonbelievers trying their best to be objective, but having almost zero expectation of finding a saucer. One way to do this would be to stress investigation, not of physical phenomena, but rather of the people who do the observing - the psychology and sociology of persons and groups who report seeing UFOs. If the emphasis were put here, rather than on examination of the old question of the physical reality of the saucer, I think the scientific community would quickly get the message... I'm inclined to feel at this early stage that, if we set up the thing right and take pains to get proper people involved and have success in presenting the image we want to present to the scientific community, we could carry the job off to our benefit.(30:211)

Professor Condon continued to make statements not befitting a supposedly unbiased scientific investigator. On September 13, 1967, Dr. Condon made a speech at the Atomic Spectroscopy Symposium at Gaithersburg, Maryland. The entire body of Dr. Condon's speech was dedicated to UFO reports made by obviously disturbed People. Dr. Condon, failed to mention or elaborate on any of the good, solid reports that comprised a large majority of UFO sightings. It was particularly disturbing to Dr. Hynek, NICAP, Dr. Levine, David Sanders and many other members of the Condon Committee that Professor Condon seemed preoccupied with the antics of the lunatic fringe and the "kookie" aspects of the UFO problem.(14:206)

The Condon Committee decided to investigate eighty-seven UFO reports. Fourteen of the eighty-seven cases were previously evaluated by both Project Blue Book and NICAP as obvious misperceptions. Dr. Condon selected only a small percentage of the total cases for review; and unfortunately, many of those he chose were trivial. (14:204)

Many of Dr. Condon's staff became increasingly disturbed by the biased, unscientific, and negative approach Dr. Condon and Robert Low were taking toward the UFO study.(12:60) The majority of Condon's staff once considered resigning en masse or issuing a press release or a minority report. They speculated that Dr. Condon was tired and disenchanted.(12:60)

On January 19, 1968, Dr. James McDonald of the University of Arizona informed Dr. Condon that he was personally disturbed by Condon's disturbing preoccupation with crackpots and the negative tone of Dr. Condon's statements over a period of time. Dr. McDonald stressed that he was also disappointed in Dr. Condon's failure to personally investigate significant field cases or to question any of the working staff who had been making a serious UFO study.(12:61) At this point Dr. David Saunders and Dr. Norman Levine released Dr. Low's memo to Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Dr. James McDonald, and NICAP. Dr. Condon, furious at the news leak from what he considered confidential files, immediately fired both Saunders and Levine. Actually, the files were never considered personal. The relaxed open-file system was part of a general policy to keep the UFO project out of the cloak-and-dagger category.(12:69) NICAP immediately suspended cooperation with the Condon Committee upon the firing of Saunders and Levine, and the obvious slanted approach being taken by Robert Low and Dr. Condon. Mary Louise Armstrong, a member of the Condon Committee and former secretary for Dr. Condon as well as a supporter of Dr. Saunders and Dr. Levine resigned her position soon after their firings. Her letter of resignation accused Project Director Robert Low with negativism and bias.(14:212)

It was regrettable that Saunders was fired because he had begun to computerize the UFO data available from various sources and had over 30,000 cases on tape available for analysis.(14:200) This was precisely the type of methodology that Dr. Hynek maintained Project Blue Book lacked. Dr. Condon had the most sophisticated data ever recorded at his fingertips but disregarded it when Saunders was fired. Dr. Condon, instead, analyzed eighty-seven cases, many current, and many of which did not even satisfy the definition of legitimate UFO reports.(14:200)

In 1969, to almost no one's surprise, what was left of the Condon Committee released its findings which concluded:

Careful consideration of the record as it is available to us leads us to conclude that further extensive study of UFOs probably can not be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced hereupon.(14:193)

As if this were not enough, Dr. Condon displayed his bias openly in the summary of his study by stating:

A related problem to which we wish to direct public attention is the miseducation in our schools which arises from the fact that many children are being allowed, if not merely encouraged, to devote their science study-time to the reading of UFO books and magazine articles of the type referred to in the preceding paragraph. We feel that children are educationally harmed by absorbing unsound and erroneous material as if it were scientifically well founded. Such study is harmful not merely because of the erroneous nature of the material itself, but also because such study retards the development of a critical faculty with regard to scientific evidence, which to some degree ought to be part of the education of every American.

Therefore, we strongly recommend that teachers refrain from giving students credit for school work based on their reading of the presently available UFO books and magazine articles. Teachers who find their students strongly motivated in this direction should attempt to channel their interests in the direction of serious study of astronomy and meteorology, and in the direction of critical analysis of arguments for fantastic propositions that are being supported by appeals to fallacious reasoning or false data.

We hope that the results of our study will prove useful to scientists and those responsible for the formation of public policy generally in dealing with this problem which has now been with us for 21 years.(1:8)

This could hardly be considered the remarks of an unbiased scientist. These closing remarks by Dr. Condon were disturbingly similar to the attitudes expressed by some of the scientific fraternity of antiquity regarding anything that differed from their beliefs. Since the Air Force accepted the Condon Report in its entirety, Project Blue Book was doomed and officially closed its files on December 18, 1969. Once more Captain Ruppelt's now prophetic statement comes to mind: "here were people deciding that there was nothing to this UFO business right at a time when the reports seemed to be getting better."(29:83) The visual reports were not only getting better, some reports were even supported through hypnosis and the use of sodium pentothal.

Le cas de Pascagoula (Mississippi)

On October 11, 1973, Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker, two Pascagoula, Mississippi shipyard workers, claimed they were abducted and forced to board a space craft. While aboard the craft, they claimed to have undergone a physical examination much like the one described by Barney and Betty Hill. On October 30, 1973 , Charles Hickson was hypnotized and underwent a 2 1/2 hour lie detector test administered by a New Orleans detective firm. Officials claimed the test confirmed that Hickson was telling the truth as to what he believed happened.(16:4) Parker did not undergo lie detection tests because of a nervous breakdown immediately following the UFO sighting. Calvin Parker still refuses to give interviews or even talk about his UFO experience. He simply wants to be left alone.(7:47) Charles Hickson, like Barney Hill, stated under hypnosis that the humanoids aboard the UFO conversed in a "humming" manner.(7:40) As in the Barney and Betty

Hill case, the Pascagoula sighting was also observed by radar shortly after Parker and Hickson claimed they were released.

Le cas de Bahia Blanca (Argentine)

During the same month as the Pascagoula, Mississippi UFO sighting, Senor Dionisio Yanca, an Argentine trucker suffering from unexplained shock underwent treatment with sodium pentothal. While under the effect or this truth serum, Senor Yanca claimed he was forced by aliens from another galaxy to spend 1 1/2 hours aboard a flying saucer. Like Barney Hill and Charles Hickson, Senor Yanca stated that the UFO occupants conversed in a "humming" manner.(13:21-A) Senor Yanca maintained that creatures from the spaceship connected a hose to high tension wires and another to a small lagoon. The Bahia Blanca Electric Company reported a sharp and unexplained rise in power consumption at the time and a UFO was sighted by an Argentine airbase near Bahia Blanca on the same day Senor Yanca claimed he was abducted. Senor Yanca cannot remember any portion of the UFO incident when he is conscious and not under the influence of truth serum.(13:21-A)

Le cas de Ubatuba (Brésil)

Many excellent UFO sightings have occurred in South America including a sighting which produced three fragments from a UFO that exploded in midair near Ubatuba, Brazil in September 1957. Fishermen reported seeing a UFO approaching the beach at an unbelievable speed. The object pulled upward at the last moment and exploded over the ocean. Several small particles landed on the beach and were retrieved by the fishermen. Three of these particles were sent to the Aerial Phenomenon Research Organization (APRO) in Tucson, Arizona by the late Dr. Olavo T. Fontes, M.D., APRO's representative in Brazil.(30:171) The Mineral Production Laboratory, a division of Mineral Production in Brazil's Ministry of Agriculture analyzed the metal fragments. The analysis proved the density of one sample to be 1.866. The density of pure terrestrial magnesium is 1.741.(30:171) APRO submitted one fragment to the Air Force for further analysis, but an emission spectrograph operator accidentally burned up the entire sample before obtaining any results. The Air Force asked for another sample but APRO refused. APRO finally relented and consented to send one of the two remaining particles to the Atomic Energy Commission Laboratories, but these tests also proved disastrous. This particle was also "accidentally" destroyed with no further explanation.(30:171)

Dr. David Saunders, of the Condon Committee, felt this case possessed unusual potential merit and requested that a piece of the remaining metallic fragment be mailed to the University of Colorado. APRO would not entrust valuable material to the United States mail and informed Dr. Saunders that he would have to pick it up personally. Dr. Norman Levine flew to Tucson, picked up a piece of the fragment, and returned to Boulder, Colorado. Another member of the Condon Committee later delivered the fragment to Washington D.C. where it was analyzed by the FBI laboratory. Analysis showed that the sample was 99.9% pure magnesium with an odd pattern of impurities containing strontium, zinc, barium, manganese, and chromium(30:173) The hypothesis drawn was that the alloy had unusual strength. In 1957, the alloy was apparently unknown on this planet. Today we do have the technology to produce a large piece of the alloy and to test the high strength hypothesis.(30:173)

The Ubatuba, Brazil UFO sighting was not listed in Project Blue Book's files and, as far as this writer could determine, no mention was made of the metallurgical analysis made of the UFO fragments. This particular case, although researched by investigators of the Condon Committee, was not referred to in the final Condon Report. This was not particularly surprising since Dr. David Saunders and Dr. Norman Levine performed much of the work on this particular case. When these two men were fired from the Condon Committee, much of their effort was unfortunately discarded by Dr. Condon.

Nouveau développements dans le cas de Barney et Betty Hill

A fascinating postscript to the Barney and Betty Hill case occurred shortly after the termination of Project Blue Book. Shortly after the Hill sighting was publicized, Marjorie Fish, a school teacher from Oak Harbor, Ohio decided to construct a three dimensional replica of all stars 32.6 light-years from our sun. In 1964, while hypnotized, Betty Hill had described and sketched a star map she had seen on the wall of the space ship she had been forced to enter in 1961. The purpose of Marjorie Fish's three dimensional star model was an attempt to locate the specific star pattern described by Betty Hill in 1964. The star model was an intricate and complicated device, but with the aid of the 1957 Von W. "Gliese Star Catalog", each star was laboriously and tediously placed in its proper location by threading various colored beads on nylon thread and knotting them in place.

In 1968, just as Marjorie Fish believed her star model was nearly complete, a Gliese supplement was published listing another 1000 stars. After completing the project, Marjorie Fish was unable to locate the proper star pattern regardless of the viewing angle employed.(9:36) Marjorie Fish then enlarged her star model to include all stars thought capable of sustaining life within 65 light-years' radius of the Earth. Finally, in 1969, Marjorie Fish received the break through she had been searching for. The incident is graphically described by UFOlogist Stanton Friedman:

Suddenly, almost magically, nine of the stars in the pattern appeared; the same angular pattern was too precise to be a coincidence... Unmistakably, about 36 light-years away, were the two close base stars. Zeta 1 Reticuli and Zeta 2 Reticuli in the Constellation of Reticulum, stars which are not familiar sights to persons living in the Northern Hemisphere but which can be seen by an observer with a telescope who is below the Equator! The alien trade and exploration lines became perfectly logical, going only to systems considered to have planets where life might develop. Their travel route was also logical, going first to the nearest star and then to the next one farther out, rather than skipping around. The extraterrestrials had an advantage in that the trip from Zeta 1 to Zeta 2 was a quick jump of about one twentieth of a light-year - no great distance for their early space explorers. In our case, the nearest star of any kind is Alpha Centauri which is over four light-years from our Sun.

Most of the other stars in the pattern were quickly identified: Sol, Alpha Mensae, Tau Ceti, 82 Eridani, 107 Piscium, 54 Piscium, and Gliese 67. Still missing were the three stars which formed the triangle to the left of the map Betty had drawn, stars close enough to the surface of the alien map to form a distinct geometric design standing out prominently in Betty's memory... It wasn't until the updated "1969 Gliese Catalogue of Nearby Stars" became available to Marjorie that the last three stars with connecting lines as well as the stars in the triangle could be pinned down and identified as the Constellation Fornax. The triangle stars are identified by the Gliese numbers of 86.1, 95, and 97. With that specific star data, Marjorie had all the proof she needed to confirm that Betty's map could only have been drawn at the time as a result of contact with extraterrestrials!

The Hills' experience occurred in 1961. Betty Hill drew the map under hypnotic suggestion in 1964. But, in 1964, the star 86.1 was not in any earthly star catalog as it had not yet been listed! The other two stars, 95 and 97, had formerly been catalogued by astronomers in incorrect parallax positions which never would have produced the visual star triangle Betty saw on the alien map! The "1969 Gliese Catalogue" now made those spatial corrections. No astronomer on Earth from 1961 to 1964 could have known that the triangle of background stars existed in its present geometric design....(9:54, 56)

The discovery of an actual star pattern to match Betty Hill's drawing was not the only fascinating postscript to the Barney and Betty Hill sighting. In 1964, Betty Hill maintained under hypnosis that humanoids aboard a UFO had inserted a needle in her navel as a test for pregnancy. This type of pregnancy testing was unheard of at the time of the Hills' UFO sighting in 1961 and Betty's testimonial under hypnosis in 1964. In the May 18, 1971, issue of "Look Magazine", however, an article described the research of German and English doctors who used a pencil-like viewing device, termed an Iapaoscope. The device was inserted through a woman's navel and provided a "panoramic view of the peritoneal cavity and its contents". A procedure described by Betty Hill in 1964, and unknown to medical science at that time, was now a reality ten years after Betty Hill's physical examination by members of a UFO crew allegedly took place.(9:54)

The cases described in the latter portions of this chapter are simply a few of the thousands of UFO sightings which occur each year. Organizations such as NICAP and APRO continue to do their best to research and document all reports received by their offices, but they lack the funds and the scope that a government-sponsored organization might possess. Many good UFO sightings remain unreported today simply because the observer does not know where or to whom he should report them. If the observer reports a UFO sighting to a nearby air base, he is given the following standard reply:

On 17 December 1969 the Air Force terminated Project Blue Book, the Air Force UFO investigation program. This decision was based on a University of Colorado study of the program, a review of the University of Colorado's report by the National Academy of Sciences, past UFO studies and two decades of Air Force experience in investigating UFOs. The conclusions drawn from Project Blue Book were: (1) no UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security; (2) there has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as "unidentified" represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge; and (3) there has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as "unidentified" are extraterrestrial vehicles.

With the termination of Project Blue Book, the regulation establishing and controlling the program was rescinded and the Project Blue Book records were transferred to the Air Force Archives where they are available for a cost to cover duplicating. The Air Force, then, is no longer involved in UFO investigation.(31:4)

The above memo has been forwarded to all USAF bases and has been headed "GUIDANCE FOR REPLYING TO UFO INQUIRIES". The paragraph preceding the body of the memo is addressed to personnel who will disseminate the message and reads as follows:

From time to time we receive inquiries on how to handle UFO inquiries and sighting reports. Our response to letters and Congressional Inquiries provides the following information, which you may wish to keep as policy for answering inquiries...(31:4i)

It is interesting to note that the above paragraph refers to the fact that even Congressional Inquiries are answered with the same explanation. The final paragraph following the prepared reply for UFO inquiries contains another message for Air Force personnel in charge of answering UFO reports:

As further amplification, we suggest to inquirers that if they are concerned about their safety as a result of a UFO, they should contact a law enforcement agency. If they believe the UFO sighting has scientific value, they should contact the nearest university.(31:4)

One regrettable aspect of the Air Force's UFO project was that many foreign governments neglected to undertake UFO studies of their own. They felt that the United States with all its facilities, was able to handle the problem better than countries with more Limited facilities.(14:173)

One country that didn't neglect to undertake its own study is the USSR. Dr. Vsevold Troitsky, a well-known soviet astrophysicist is currently in charge of four widely-spaced detection stations. The stations are designed to monitor signals from outer space and are located in Siberia where man-made radio interference is at a minimum. The results of this project have been detected by Russian scientists several times a day for a few minutes at a time. Dr. Troitsky claims the signals were obviously carrying a message.(28:22) The sounds are described by Dr. Troitsky and his associate, Dr. Nikolai Karadzshev as "definite call signals" from another planet within our solar system that could only have been transmitted by "civilized beings". Both Soviet and American scientists denied that the signals were coming from known spacecraft.(28:22) The United States might well have been ahead of the Soviet detection system if the U.S. Government had followed the advice of Bernard M. Oliver ten years ago. Oliver, recognized as one of the top electronic engineers in the country, proposed a listening station that would "enable man to detect even the unintended radiation from another intelligent race..."(28:22) In the decade that was passed since Mr. Oliver made his suggestion regarding a U.S. detection system, Project Blue Book has been terminated. There seems little evidence that Congress is ready to initiate, or even suggest, another UFO study at this time, although some members of Congress are well aware of the shortcomings of Project Blue Book. Representative J. Edward Roush (D-Ind) readily admits "the Air Force's Investigation of UFOs was a farce" and the Condon Report "was a ruse for the purpose of eliminating any further governmental interest". Congressman Roush added that it is his feeling that "many Congressmen are interested in UFOs" but he feels there will be no move to appropriate money for another study at present, because of today's political climate.(35:17)

The question remains: If funds were available for a federally-sponsored UFO study, who should undertake it? The United States Air Force still has the world's best resources and facilities available to conduct such an investigation, but they tried once and failed. Is it possible, after a five year hiatus and a new Air Force Chief of Staff that the Air Force is now capable of conducting an unbiased politically free UFO investigation? The writers feel that this is extremely doubtful. General George S. Brown, the new Air Force Chief of Staff, admittedly encourages more open discussion between the Air Force, the media, and the general public than his predecessor. General Brown's philosophy of open discussion apparently does not seem to pertain to himself, however, at least so far as the subject of UFOs is concerned.

On August 13, 1973, Mr. Allen F. Sandler, President, Institutional Films, Inc. wrote a letter to SAFOI informing them of an upcoming television documentary on UFOs that he was producing. The film was to be narrated by Mr. Rod Serling and Mr. Sandler informed SAFOI that one of the goals of the program was to clarify the position of the Department of the Defense regarding UFOs and to clear up the misconception that there is a government conspiracy to cover up the UFO project. In a letter to SAFOI dated October 29, 1973, Mr. Sandler enclosed a script of his intended production of UFOs for SAFOI's evaluation. Mr. Sandler also requested permission to film various Air Force locations, the Project Blue Book files, and to film an interview with General George S. Brown. On December 12, 1973, Norman T. Hatch, Chief, Audio-Visual Division, Directorate for Defense Information, Washington, D.C., answered Mr. Sandler's requests by giving him permission to photograph certain unclassified portions of the requested areas. As for Mr. Sandler's request to interview General Brown, Mr. Hatch wrote the following reply:

Le général George S. Brown and Colonel George Weinbrenner do not desire to participate in the UFO program. No film interviews with military personnel at the above-mentioned installations are authorized. Any further requests for film interviews must be submitted to this office for approval.... We agree with your suggestion that the official Department of Defense position be expressed on the show. If you desire, a spokesman will be made available to be filmed stating the current position of the Department of Defense on UFOs.(31:2)

There was no mention made as to whom the possible Air Force spokesman would be, but Mr. Sandler later informed employees who safeguard the Project Blue Book files that the Last Director of Project Blue Book would appear in his television documentary. Whether or not the former Director of Project Blue Book is the official government spokesman, there is little doubt as to what the position of the Department of the Defense will be. Page one of Mr. Hatch's letter of December 12, 1973, to Mr. Sandler includes a remark which is a good indication that the current Air Force position on Project Blue Book and UFOs has remained unchanged since 1969:

Components of the DoD have not engaged in the investigation of UFO reports for several years. The mission ended for the simple reason that no scientific evidence supported a need for its continuation.(31:1)

Conclusions et recommandations

There are many fascinating and convincing arguments both supporting and refuting the existence of UFOs. Advocates of both positions have one thing in common: they are very often rigid in their beliefs and inflexible to arguments which conflict with their hypotheses. But after pro and con evidence has been weighed, after the scientific dogmatism has been eliminated, after explanations of natural phenomena have been accounted for, and long after the facade of obvious deception has been stripped away, one entity remains obvious: there have been literally thousands of credible UFO sightings that have lacked satisfactory explanation. Millions of respectable people have witnessed something in the heavens that simply cannot be explained as natural phenomena.


After completing the UFO research and after scrutinizing the original Project Blue Book files, the writers have concluded that both Project Blue Book and the Condon report seem to lack credibility. Both investigations appear to be biased, shallow attempts at explaining the complex mysteries of UFOs. But why? Why should Project Blue Book, with the world's best facilities readily available, end in such dismal failure? The lack of a satisfactory answer to this question has given rise to other questions concerning Project Blue Book. Was there political pressure on the part of the Air Force or some other governmental agency to cover-up or influence the investigation and conclusions of the Project Blue Book staff? Why didn't the Air Force transcribe their UFO findings to data processing and a central memory bank for easier cross-reference? Did the constant changing of Project Blue Book's directorship upset the stability of the investigation?

The Question of Political Pressure

The writers feel that the Air Force did, indeed, influence the conclusions reached by the Project Blue Book staff. On September 23, 1947, the Chief of ATIC sent a letter to the Commanding General of the Armed Forces stating that UFOs were real. One year later, the official Air Force attitude seemed to have mysteriously reversed itself at a time when former Project Blue Book Director, Captain E. J. Ruppelt, admitted that UFO reports were getting better.(29:85) The writers found that since late September 1947, the Air Force apparently made it a standard operating procedure to support their new-founded hypothesis no matter how convincing the evidence was to the contrary. Although many UFO sightings were admittedly easily explainable, the Air Force and Project Blue Book repeatedly resorted to trite unfounded explanations in an attempt to explain even the more credible UFO reports. Promising leads were often dropped with unsatisfactory explanations, questionable UFO reports listed as a "possible balloon" or "possibly a planet" were changed to "balloon" or "planet" for no apparent reason other than closing the files on the cases. If there were many witnesses to a UFO sighting, the Project Blue Book staff would ask for further proof, such as photos. If photos were supplied, they were branded as "fakes". If motion picture footage was furnished, it was labeled as "natural phenomena" and sometimes returned to the owner with several frames of film missing. If supposed fragments of a UFO were sent to a government lab for study, they were "accidentally" destroyed while undergoing examination. In short, the Air Force seemed to repeatedly exhibit bias and to conduct shoddy methodology in lieu of professionally scientific investigation. The methods used gave the writers the impression that there was political pressure to influence the investigation and conclusions of the Project Blue Book staffs.

It is difficult to determine whether or not pressure was applied to Project Blue Book by any governmental agency other than the Air Force. We do know that the Robertson panel met in 1953 under the auspices of the CIA and that the records of this meeting are "mysteriously" clipped from the original Project Blue Book files, but the writers have not been able to determine who was responsible for this censorship. We also know that Dr. Edward Condon was selected by the Department of Defense to conduct the investigation which ultimately led to the demise of Project Blue Book. Why was Dr. Condon, of all qualified scientists, selected? Was it simply because he was a renowned scientist? Was it because he was formerly Assistant Director of the Atomic Bomb Project at Los Alamos Proving Grounds and could be trusted with sensitive information? Or was it because Dr. Condon, in his previous capacity, might have been affiliated with another governmental agency such as the CIA? The writers do not know. Any conclusion would merely be speculation. It seems odd, however, that a renowned scientist of Dr. Condon's stature, a man whose entire life had been dedicated to careful research and scientific methodology peculiarly conducted a very biased and amateurish UFO investigation which was certainly unworthy of a man of Dr. Condon's esteem. Why? Again, the writers do not know for certain, but pressures applied by another governmental agency cannot be ruled out as the possible cause of such unorthodox action.

The Question of Project Blue Book's Filing System

It would have been extremely beneficial to transfer the various aspects of Project Blue Book's UFO sightings to data processing and a central memory bank for valuably future cross-reference, but no attempt was made to do so. Why? Would the cost have been prohibitive? This is doubtful since the Air Force apparently had little trouble in obtaining over $500,000 for the Condon Study. Was it possible that the Air Force didn't want its UFO information to be cross-referenced for future UFO studies and correlations? This theory could conceivably possess merit. Not only did the Air Force fail to commit its valuable data regarding UFO sightings to data processing, but Dr. Condon completely disregarded, and presumably destroyed, over 30,000 such computerized inputs. These inputs were tabulated by a Condon Committee member, Dr. David Saunders, who was attempting to put the UFO information in some useable order. Dr. Saunders was later fired by Dr. Condon.

The writers feel it is extremely important that any new UFO study be completely computerized and that all data currently stored in Project Blue Book's files be computerized for easy cross reference. If this were accomplished, it would be quite simple to immediately compare various aspects of sightings throughout the world with other sightings that have taken place. A lack of this type of methodical record-keeping was one of the most significant criticisms of Project Blue Book's filing system. The Barney and Betty Hill sighting, for instance, had many things in common with the Pascagoula, Mississippi and Bahia Blanca sightings. Barney Hill, Charles Hickson, and Dionisio Yanca all maintained under the influence of hypnosis or sodium pentothal (truth serum) that their captives employed a "humming-type" of speech, the skin color (or lack of color) of the UFO occupants was basically the same in all three cases, as was the description of the interior lighting of the three space ships. These are extremely important observations, but there is presently no method to compare such facts as these without painstaking research of each individual sighting. A computer memory bank would eliminate the necessity for this time-consuming and methodical research, thus many comparisons and conclusions could conceivably be drawn that might otherwise be overlooked.

The Question of Project Blue Book's Changing Directorship

Did the constant changing of Project Blue Book's Directorship upset the stability of the Project's UFO investigation? The writers feel that this is very likely. While it is true that the Air Force has a policy of shifting its personnel, the writers feel that a better method of appointing and retaining Project Blue Book Directors could have been followed. Instead of appointing young officers with little background or motivation to lead such an important project as Project Blue Book, more importance should have been placed on a potential director's background, his technical expertise, and his familiarity with scientific research and methodology. Project Blue Book's Directors should have been appointed to at least a four year tour and their successor should have possessed equal qualifications and tenure. The writers are mindful or the fact that the last Director of Project Blue Book remained at the helm for over six years, but the writers believe that there is sufficient evidence to assume that he was retained because of his willingness to "go along with the pretext".

The Question of a New Study

It is apparent to the writers that Project Blue Book suffered from bias, faulty research, political pressure, an inadequate staff, and a shoddy, antiquated filing system. In short, Project Blue Book lacked the necessary scientific methodology warranted by an important study of this nature.

The writers feel that their research has proven a new UFO study is definitely warranted. Any new study, however, should profit from the mistakes of Project Blue Book and the Condon Committee and incorporate the lessons learned from their failures. Any new UFO program should be free from bias and political influence; it should also transcribe all old and new input concerning UFO sightings to data processing and a central memory bank. Any new UFO study should carefully employ scientific methodology in their investigation and should maintain a stable, well-qualified, highly motivated leadership. But once again, the writers must ask the question: If a new UFO study is warranted, who should undertake it?

It is doubtful that the Air Force, or any DoD agency could conduct a truly scientific study in this politically volatile subject, considering the past history of Project Blue Book. Any new UFO study should be independent of the military and should be undertaken by Prominent scientists and astronomers in the United States. Ideally, these scientists could form a national organization whose prime purpose would be the investigation of UFOs. Such an organization could cooperate and exchange information with scientists and astronomers throughout the world, as well as with private agencies such as Dr. J. Allen Hynek's Center for UFO studies. Such an organization should be financed by the government and should report to a congressional sub-committee. Hopefully, this would free the organization from political influence, bias, and pre-judgement, and would encourage an open discussion of questions and findings. Ideally, such a national organization would divide the United States into regions or sections. Each area should maintain transportation which would be available whenever needed to investigate UFO sightings and landings within a few hours of their occurrence.

Much has happened since Congressman J. Edward Roush remarked that he felt there was a little chance of congress appropriating money for a new UFO study. A new desire for truth from government officials and agencies is rampant throughout the land. Perhaps in today's world of congressional hearings and behind-the scenes government exposes, the shallowness and hypocrisy of the Project Blue Book and Condon investigations can be more readily comprehended by members of congress. This possibility together with the increasing credibility of current UFO sightings, some even supported by hypnosis and sodium pentothal, could possibly convince congress that there is indeed a definite need to support a new UFO investigation.


As a result of this study, the following specific recommendations are made concerning Project Blue Book:

    1. A new UFO study should be initiated under the guidance of a congressional sub-committee. No Defense Department agencies should be directly involved in the study.
    2. A national UFO organization should be created whose membership is comprised of scientists and astronomers with respected professional reputations and proven ability to conduct serious scientific research.
    3. Ideally, such national organization would divide the United States into regions or sections. Each area should maintain transportation which would be available whenever needed to investigate UFO sightings and landings within a few hours of their occurrence.
    4. Such a national UFO organization should cooperate and exchange information with scientists and astronomers throughout the world, as well as with private agencies such as Dr. J. Allen Hynek' s Center for UFO Studies.
    5. The Project Blue Book files at Maxwell AFB should be completely catalogued, systematized, and computerized. This effort should be accomplished by the new research group as a method of familiarizing them with the total past history of government research in this area.

After more than a quarter of a century of evasion, procrastination, and unsatisfactory explanations by the Air Force, the American public has a right to demand and receive an unbiased, scientific UFO investigation. The writers feel that such an investigation conducted by an organization comprised of prominent scientists and astronomers free from political influence is an idea whose time has arrived.


Many of the footnotes in this paper are marked "file". This indicates that the reference material can be located in the Project Blue Book files at the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. In order to locate the desired file, one must ask for the material by name, date, and location of sighting (if applicable), and fire number (if known). For example, a footnote listed as "(26:file)" indicates it is the twenty-sixth item in this Bibliography. In this case, it is a reference to Project Blue Book's file on Barney and Betty Hill. To locate this file, one must utilize the information from the twenty-sixth entry to this Bibliography and ask the Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center personnel for "the Barney and Betty Hill file, dated September 21, 1961, location of sighting: Portsmouth, New Hampshire. File K243.6012-1."

  1. AD 680-975, "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects", Boulder, Colorado. University of California: Edward U. Condon, 1968.
  2. AD 680-976, "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects", Boulder, Colorado. University of California: Edward U. Condon, 1968.
  3. AD 680-977, "Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects", Boulder, Colorado. University of California: Edward U. Condon, 1968.
  4. "A Fresh Look at Flying Saucers," Time, Vol. 90 (4 August 1967), 32-33.
  5. "Are Flying Saucers Real? Latest on an Old Mystery," U.S. News & World Report, Vol. 75 (5 November 1973), 75-76.
  6. Davidson, Leon. "Flying Saucers: An analysis of the Air Force Project Blue Book, Special Report No. 14"; New York: Leon Davidson, 1956.
  7. Eszterhas, Joe "Clawmen from the Outer Space," Rolling Stone (17 January 1974), 26-27, 38, 40, 42, 44, 46-47.
  8. Flammonde, Paris. "The Age of Flying Saucers." New York: Hawthorne Books, Inc., 1971.
  9. Friedman, Stanton and Slate, Ann B. "UFO Star Bases Discovered," Saga, Vol. 46 (July 1973), 37-56.
  10. Fuller, John G. "Aboard a Flying Saucer," Part 1, Look, Vol. 30 (4 October 1966), 45-48, 53-56.
  11. Fuller, John G. "Aboard a Flying Saucer," Part 2, Look, Vol. 30 (18 October 1966), 111-114, 116, 118-119.
  12. Fuller, John G. "Flying Saucer Fiasco," Look, Vol. 32 (14 May 1968), 58-62.
  13. "His Little Green Men Haunt Him," The Atlanta Journal and Constitution (20 January 1974), 21-A.
  14. Hynek, J. Allen. "The UFO Experience a Scientific Inquiry". Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1972.
  15. Koch, Howard. "The Panic Broadcast". Boston-Toronto: Little, Brown and Company, 1970.
  16. "Lie Test Bears out Pascagoula Story," The Birmingham News (31 October 1973), 4.
  17. Luttrell, John H. "I was Quizzed in Space Ship," Boston Traveler (27 October 1965), B-2.
  18. Luttrell, John H. "UFO Chiller! Did they Seize Couple?," Boston Traveler (25 October 1965), B-7.
  19. Luttrell, John H. "Was this the Moment of Truth?" Boston Traveler (30 October 1965), B-8.
  20. Macomber, Frank. "More Americans Taking UFOs more Seriously than in Past," Alabama Journal (13 December 1973), 20.
  21. Page, Thornton and Sagan, Carl, UFOs a Scientific Debate". Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972.
  22. Personal correspondence: from Norman T. Hatch, Chief, Audio-Visual Division Directorate for Defense Information, Washington, D.C. to Allen F. Sandler, President, Sandler Institutional Films, Inc., December 12, 1973. Letter on file at counter, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama.
  23. Project Blue Book, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama File K243.6012, Synopsis of Headquarters Air Material Command Technical Report "Unidentified Flying Objects, Project Grudge," 31 Aug 1949.
  24. Project Blue Book, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. File K243.6012-12, Captain E. J. Ruppelt ADC Briefing January 24, 1953.
  25. Project Blue Book, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. File K243.6012, History of Project, January 1956.
  26. Project Blue Book, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. File K243.6012-1, Barney and Betty Hill File, Portsmouth, N.H. , September 21, 1961.
  27. Project Blue Book, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama. File K243.6012, 1968 Project Blue Book Report 1968.
  28. Richmond, Ann. "Russians now Lead the Race to Decode Deep-Space Signals," The National Tattler (17 February 1974), 22.
  29. Ruppelt, Edward J. "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects". New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1956.
  30. Saunders, David R. and Harkins, R. Roger. "UFOs? Yes! Where The Condon Committee went Wrong". New York and Cleveland: The World Publishing Company, 1969.
  31. Secretary of the Air Force Office of Information (SAFOI), Information Program Bulletin, (1 October 1973), 1-4. Available at counter, Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center, Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama.
  32. "Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects". Hearings Before the Cornmittee on Science and Astronautics U.S. House of Representatives, Ninetieth Congress, Second Session, July 29, 1968, No. 7. Washington: U.S.Government Printing Office.
  33. "UFO, Still a Mystery Despite Explanations," The Evansville Courier (19 October 1973), 6.
  34. "Unidentified Flying Objects," The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aviation and Space, Vol. 13, Los Angeles: A.F.E. Press, 1971.
  35. Waddell, Les. "Old Probes Discounting UFOs Don't Convince Key Capital Lawmakers," The National Tattler, (17 February 1974), 17.
  36. "What ever happened to UFOs?" Science News, Vol.99 (26 June 1971), 429-444.